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Work begins on Fish Trap Creek Culvert replacement on Orcas Island

San Juan County Media Release – The San Juan County Public Works project to replace a culvert and repair a section of Cormorant Bay Road near Deer Harbor is underway. The FEMA-funded project will install a ten-foot-wide box culvert, specially designed to improve fish passage to Fish Trap Creek and withstand significant storms. Construction will be intermittent over the course of several months.

Beginning in mid-February, work will commence to build a temporary, 250-foot detour road to accommodate traffic during construction. Preparations for this short detour road will include brush and tree removal, isolation of a section of the stream where work will occur, and fish salvage from the work area. This temporary road will remain in place for several months while the project is underway.

“This much-needed project updates our critical infrastructure, while prioritizing the health and vitality of our stream systems,” said Kendra Smith, the County’s Environmental Stewardship Director. “This is a great example of the County’s commitment to environmental stewardship through thoughtful engineering.”

Project History:

A storm in January of 2020 damaged the previous culvert under Cormorant Bay Road. With consultation from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), San Juan County immediately replaced the culvert (18-inch diameter, 31 feet long) to restore access to homes, with the long-term goal of installing a more permanent, fish-passable culvert in the future. Now, the Public Works Department has contracted with Neptune General Contractors from Anacortes to install the new culvert. The project is funded by emergency response and replacement funds from FEMA.

Project Timeline:

The project will be completed in phases. The first phase begins in mid-February with the construction of a detour road. Additional timeline details will be shared as they become available. The project is expected to be completed by the end of June 2023.

Project Information:

Construction work will occur during regular working hours with no work being done on the weekends. The detour road will be available 24 hours a day, and for safety reasons, there will be temporary lighting and signage.

Contact: Jeff Sharp, Deputy County Engineer, jeffs@sanjuanco.com, (360) 370-0509


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