Local Information

Lane, road closures coming to I-5, SR 548 and Zell Road near Ferndale

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 - 07:52

Tom Pearce, communications, 206-492-9555

$11.5 million project will improve fish passage in California Creek

FERNDALE – As early as May 18, travelers should plan for lane closures on northbound and southbound Interstate 5 for a big environmental improvement project in California Creek, north of Ferndale.

To improve fish passage, contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will start by building a bypass in the median of I-5 between State Route 548/Grandview Road and Birch Bay-Lynden Road. This will require occasional daytime or nighttime lane reductions on I-5.

Following that work, major lane reductions and closures are planned, including:

  • Southbound I-5 reduced to one lane for six days in early June.
  • Northbound I-5 reduced to one lane for six days in late June.
  • Zell Road just north of Willeys Lake Road closed for nine days in July.
  • The intersection of SR 548/Grandview Road and Portal Way closed for five days in August.

“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.”

The culvert under SR 548/Grandview Road is in the narrow space between Portal Way and the BNSF railroad tracks. Closing the intersection helps ensure the safety of workers and travelers. Zell Road mostly carries local traffic and is an important travel option for area residents.

Travelers should plan ahead
This project has four work zones and crews will only work on one site 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.
  • Portal Way will be open for local traffic only between Brown Road and Birch Bay-Lynden Road.
  • Zell Road will be local access only between Custer Schoolhouse Road and Willeys Lake Road.

Signed detours will be in place.

Improving conditions for salmon and other species
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.

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