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TRAFFIC ALERT: Culvert work will impact traffic on I-5, Grandview Rd, Portal Wy and Zell Rd

I-5 traffic viewed from Main Street during a morning commute (August 30, 2016). Photo: WSDOT traffic camera

FERNDALE, Wash. — Construction will start soon that will require lane closures on I-5 and temporary closure of Grandview Road and Zell Road during replacement of culverts under I-5 and Grandview Road. According to WSDOT officials, the water runs too quickly through the culverts, making them impassable for migrating fish trying to reach spawning grounds.

WSDOT officials announced today that construction could begin as early as Monday, May 18th.

The existing culverts in this part of California Creek are narrow and water flows too quickly for migratory and resident fish to pass. The new, larger culverts will slow water flow, creating easier conditions for fish passage and more natural streambeds. These improvements are part of the state’s larger effort to improve fish passage under state highways and will open an additional 6.5 miles of habitat and salmon spawning grounds.Washington State Department of Transportation – May 12, 2020

Contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will build a bypass lane in the median of I-5 through the work zone near the intersection of Zell Road and Willeys Lake Road. This will require occasional daytime or nighttime lane reductions on I-5 according to WSDOT officials.

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Markers indicate work zone locations during the project.

After the median bypass lane has been built, major lane reductions and closures are planned at the 4 work locations as follows (specific dates to be announced):

  • I-5 southbound reduced to one lane for 6 days in early June
  • I-5 northbound reduced to one lane for 6 days in late June
  • Zell Road just north of Willeys Lake Road closed for 9 days in July
  • The intersection of Grandview Road (SR548) and Portal Way will be closed for 5 days in August

WSDOT officials say crews will only work at 1 work location at a time.

  • When northbound or southbound I-5 is reduced to one lane, the speed limit in that direction will be lowered for the safety of the people working on the highway and the traveling public
  • While work is going on at the Grandview Road work location, Portal Way will be open for local traffic only between Brown Road and Birch Bay-Lynden Road
  • While work is going on at the Zell Road work location, Zell Road will be local access only between Custer Schoolhouse Road and Willeys Lake Road

“It’s a challenge when we need to dig up both lanes of I-5 to replace a culvert. The median bypass lane will allow us to keep traffic moving on the interstate throughout the project,” said Mikkel Lamay, WSDOT’s project engineer. “The work zones on SR 548 and Zell Road are too small to do something similar, so we’ll need full closures at those locations.”

Tom Pearce of WSDOT Communications Department said the work was not able to begin earlier in the year and must be completed by October 15th to minimize potential impacts on the fish population in the streams and creeks.

Drivers can monitor real-time traffic alerts on the My Ferndale News Traffic page before heading out.

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