The Washington State Department of Transportation is spending $36 million on replacing fish passage barriers during the current two-year budget cycle that ends in 2015, the most it has ever devoted to the project.
But it still falls short of the estimated $310 million needed each budget cycle to meet the U.S. District Court injunction requiring the state to fix hundreds of fish-blocking culverts by 2030.
WSDOT Director of Environmental Services Megan White said Wednesday the department is working in “good faith” to meet the deadline, but an estimated $2.4 billion dollars of work remains to be done.
“Replacing culverts isn’t easy,” White said.
The average cost of replacing a culvert is $3 million, she said, although some cost upwards of $20 million. The culverts must be built to last and able to handle a significant amount of traffic, White said.
Watch an interview about the issue on “The Impact” on Wednesday, June 4 at 7 & 10 p.m. More information about the project can be found here, including WSDOT’s response to last year’s court injunction requiring the state to increase its efforts in fixing the culverts.
Update: Watch “The Impact” below: