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Contractors are working to replace a culvert blocking fish passage with a concrete tunnel and are starting up construction again along Highway 97.

BLEWETT PASS — Fish passage construction is starting back up on Blewett Pass, meaning reduced driving speeds and width restrictions on Highway 97.

Construction contractors will use a flagger during staging of equipment and materials, according to a state Department of Transportation (WSDOT) news release.

The project, about 5 miles south of the Blewett Pass summit, will help to open up fish spawning and rearing ground by replacing a culvert tunnel with a concrete bridge, according to WSDOT. This bridge should provide safe passage for steelhead, rainbow and cutthroat trout as well as allow for elk and deer to pass under.

Work this season is set to occur between lanes of traffic on the highway, limiting speeds to 35 mph, according to WSDOT. Width restrictions are 10 feet for northbound traffic and 11 feet for southbound.

The project is scheduled to be finished by the end of October or early November, according to WSDOT.

Crews first began construction on March 9, 2019. The work contract to add in a concrete bridge costs WSDOT $4.2 million.

Luke Hollister: 665-1172 or

on Twitter @lukeholli