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May 2, 2014 at 9:51 AM

Crews finish logjam project on Highway 20 ahead of schedule

By Kimberly Cauvel / Skagit Valley Herald

ROCKPORT, Skagit County — The days of a reduced-speed, temporary bypass detour on a stretch of Highway 20 east of Rockport will be over just in time for the warmer months that bring more travelers to the area.

The state Department of Transportation (DOT)-hired contractor, Trimaxx Construction, finished installing constructed logjams and dolosse concrete blocks along the Skagit River bank in the area ahead of schedule.

The project is intended to help keep the river in its channel and spare the riverside stretch of the roadway from erosion damage.

The logjams also provide habitat for juvenile salmon on their way to the sea.

It’s the second project of its kind in the state and the largest to date.

“The contractor built the logjams much faster than we anticipated,” DOT project engineer Shane Spahr said. “This is only the second time a project like this has been done in Washington. It’s much larger than the other one, along the Puyallup River, and the water here is a lot swifter, so that made estimating how long it would take a challenge. But it’s great to have the work done early, which will help traffic through the area.”

Drivers may experience single-lane closures while crews remove the bypass over the next few weeks. Then normal traffic will resume for the summer.

Initially, the plan was to suspend construction from May to July to avoid traffic delays during the height of the driving season. But because the contractor finished four months early, the logjam work won’t have to resume in August. Crews may return in the fall to do landscaping along the riverbank, however, which might again reduce traffic to one lane.

Comments | More in Traffic & Transit | Topics: Highway 20, Rockport, Skagit River

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