Fish Barrier Removal Project on 305 Won’t Wrap Up until November 2023

Don’t expect the State Highway 305-Murden Cove construction project to end any time soon. The Washington State Department of Transportation’s fish barrier removal work at Murden Creek isn’t expected to wrap up until November 2023. That’s almost a year away – if you’re keeping track. So what’s going on with this $10 million construction project that is slowing traffic and irritating some drivers?

State Highway 305-Murden Cove constructionSimply put, crews are removing an existing culvert under the highway and replacing it with a new bridge. The work will open almost 1.5 miles of potential habitat on Murden Creek. According to authorities, the creek is a top salmon stream on Bainbridge Island and is a tributary to Murden Cove, which is part of Puget Sound.
WSDOT workers will replace the outdated culvert with a new 120-foot bridge. Crews also will build features that will replicate a natural stream. The improvements support every life cycle of fish, says the WSDOT. One of the reasons this project is underway, stems from a 2013 federal court injunction requiring WSDOT to significantly increase the state’s efforts to remove state-owned culverts that block habitat for salmon, bull trout, and steelhead.

Some people have been alarmed by the number of trees that have been removed in the project’s wake and whose remains have been sitting along the west side of the Highway for some time. Authorities say the tree removal and replacement will allow crews to enhance Murden Creek, which is restricted to just a single culvert that flows under the highway. Crews will create room for the creek to flow naturally under the new bridge. The tree removal also makes space for a temporary, two-lane bypass road. As the project winds up, workers will plant more than twice the number of trees that are removed, along with some 3,000 shrubs, says the WSDOT.

Meantime, travelers using Highway 305 on Bainbridge will continue to notice temporary changes to the highway, as crews create new work zones between the northbound and southbound lanes, allowing them to continue to build a temporary two-lane bypass road. The bypass will keep people moving as crews replace the culvert with the new bridge.

As is posted, the speed limit is reduced to 35 mph. Bicyclists can ride with traffic or follow a signed detour. The detour follows North Madison Avenue NE  and NE Lovgreen Road. The detour will remain in place for the duration of the project.

The WSDOT advises people to plan for extra travel time while approaching North Madison Avenue NE, and Sportsman Club Road NE. Authorities say traffic stops should not last more than 10 minutes. We’ll have to see how all this shapes up as we approach the busy tourism season in the spring and summer. Meanwhile, remember that, yes, these delays may test your patience, but they’re ultimately for the good all of us and for the good of the salmon.
August 2022 – November 2023
Project status: Under Construction
Funding: $10 million
Project hotline
WSDOT provides email updates about roadwork on state highways in Kitsap County. Real-time traffic information is available on the WSDOT Travel Center Map and WSDOT app.

Map of State Route 305 on Bainbridge Island with orange circle placed on location of work zone at Murden Creek.

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