Salmon traffic jam eased by Issaquah road project

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on October 24, 2012 at 6:43 PM

State transportation officials aren't finished yet with one road project, but traffic has already dramatically improved.

Fish traffic that is. 

The East Fork of Issaquah Creek is truly a fork in the road -- in the Interstate 90 median.

Chinook, Coho, and Sockeye salmon are fighting their way up the East Fork. Now they have a fighting chance of navigating under the highway, thanks to a 40-foot wide culvert that replaces one that was only 12-feet wide.

The stream now has more space, slowing down its flow. With the old 12-foot opening, the water shot through the culvert too quickly, making it hard for salmon to swim upstream.

"As people zip 60 miles per hour east and west on I-90, listening to the radio, drinking their latte, they have no idea there was a traffic jam of fish waiting to get upstream in this particular stream reach," said Terry Drochak, NW Environmental Director for WSDOT.

The larger culvert will also reduce the risk of flooding during heavy storms.

 

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