(The Center Square) – The Washington State Department of Transportation is planning S.R. 108 closures to improve fish passages under the highway in Mason County.

"We appreciate travelers' understanding and patience as we work to remove barriers to fish passage," WSDOT Spokesperson Doug Adamson said in a statement to The Center Square.

WSDOT is planning to close S.R. 108 between Kamilche and McCleary to replace outdated culverts, which sometimes obstruct the movement of fish through waterways beneath the highway, according to a news release.

Some closures and road work will start Aug. 7, with occasional one-way alternating traffic during the day. But, WSDOT will completely close the highway for two weeks near milepost 5 northeast of McCleary, from Sept. 5 at 8 a.m. to Sept. 19 at 8 a.m.

"We are excavating the entire roadway, so there will be no vehicle access through the work zone," Adamson said.

During the closure, travelers will follow detour signs on U.S. 101, S.R. 8 and S.R. 108, according to the news release. Adamson said the detour would add at least an extra 30 minutes to travelers' time.

"We understand this, at the very least, is an inconvenience for travelers during the total around-the-clock closure of the highway," he said.

This is part of a $47.4 million project to remove multiple barriers to fish travel under the stretch of highway. According to the news release, crews will be replacing two culverts near the tributary to Skookum Creek. The current culverts allow water flow but do not always allow fish like salmon to swim through, blocking off their habitats.

WSDOT expects another S.R. 108 closure in late October near milepost 9, near West Hurley Waldrip Road. The department will announce the closure when it is officially scheduled.

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