Huge new culvert to cause long Newberry road closure

The summer replacement of the Newberry Hill Road Culvert on Little Anderson Creek between Seabeck and Silverdale will feature an upsize of epic proportions but will also force drivers to add some extra miles to their driving plans.

Using a hoop made up of PVC pipe, Tim Beachy with Kitsap County Public Works demonstrated to residents and the Central Kitsap Community Council the constricting size of the culvert, about 3 feet in diameter. He then pointed to a corner of the meeting room, tracking his finger along a sizable edge of the wall.

“That row of cabinets is about 15-feet wide,” he said. “The new culvert will be about as wide as those cabinets.”

The new culvert’s height will measure 13-feet, creating a far more open space for water and fish to flow. Images provided by county officials make it easier to picture the project as a concrete box rather than typical culvert pipes.

“Many times a culvert can carry the water and get it through, but it constricts it and makes it flow very fast. So you might wonder why they would construct a culvert six feet above the stream. Well, they didn’t.”

The culvert had been built and installed at stream level, Beachy said, but the rapid flow of water has contributed to erosion downhill. That unintended consequence led to the culvert’s current perched state.

Beachy said the new dimensions will meet the criteria for safer fish passage, will provide easier access for maintenance and will reconnect the natural corridor, all while maintaining the existing road.

However, the culvert replacement will result in the closure of Newberry Hill Road beginning June 20, a necessity to preserve tree and stream life while speeding up the project timeline. The road closure will last through Sept. 3.

County officials managed to time the project and road closures during the summer vacation of nearby Klahowya Secondary School, whose Newberry Hill entrance lies less than a half-mile from the project. A closure of the site would have resulted in miles of detour for bus drivers, students and staff.

Those detours will still have to be managed for some commuters. A county presentation identifies portions of Seabeck Highway NW, Highway 3 and NW Anderson Road as likely options.

“We know this corridor is used by so many people from such far distances,” Beachy said.

Residents can expect to see communications about the closure in coming weeks via roadside signs, county mailings and door-to-door outreach.