HUNTSPOINT, Wash. -- Since the SR 520 expansion project began on the east side of Lake Washington, there has been a steady stream of criticism. But state engineers want drivers to look on the brighter side of the project.
First, homeowners and drivers were furious about the removal of hundreds of trees, then weekend closures, heavy equipment and more. So Tuesday, the Washington State Department of Transportation tried to point out some of the higher points.
Engineers showed the old, small and inadequate culvert thatFairweather Creek used to go underthe roadway.
During storm lows it would just flush fish out, there was nocapacity for fish to move upstream, explained WSDOT biologist Phillip Bloch.
During one recent weekendclosure the agency ripped out the old culvert and replaced itin time to clear the road fortheMonday commute. The new larger structure has a natural surface and can help fish move up and down the stream during any time of year.
The agency also showed how some of those downed trees will be used to provide habitat for fish in creeks and wetlands around the new roadway. Workers also installed new stormwater retention ponds that will capture and help filter runoff that used to flow right off the highway into Lake Washington.