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Photo of Fish Hatchery Road Bridge.
Fish Hatchery Road Bridge. Photo taken May 2020.

Status update

Fall 2021

The bridge deck and superstructure have been removed and permanent fencing at the site has been added. A permanent gate will be installed by end of the year.

Project location

Fish Hatchery Road Bridge No. 61B is a King County-owned and maintained short span bridge located in Fall City on SE Fish Hatchery Road, near State Route 202 (SE Fall City – Snoqualmie Road). The bridge spans an unnamed outlet stream that feeds into the Snoqualmie River.

Project overview

The 20-foot-long, timber-supported Fish Hatchery Bridge was originally built in 1950. King County has repaired the bridge several times, and permanently closed it to vehicle traffic in 2018 due to severe flood damage. Flood events in 2019 and 2020 have continued to damage the bridge and Fish Hatchery Road further.

In response to community and project-partner feedback, the County permanently removed the damaged bridge in July 2021 and will install locked gates to protect the public.

The bridge removal did not impact parking or how people currently access the area for recreation. The bridge support piles and roadway abutments will remain in place in case they are used in the future for habitat restoration or other use.

Why King County removed this bridge

The area surrounding the Fish Hatchery Road Bridge is prone to flooding. In late 2020, King County determined that the benefits of removing the bridge altogether outweighed the environmental and financial costs of building a replacement bridge large enough to withstand flooding. Removal of Fish Hatchery Bridge also will help improve the local habitat by allowing a more natural connection between the Snoqualmie River and the 17-acre wetland northeast of Fish Hatchery Road. Removal of the bridge does not affect local access to residences on both sides of the bridge.

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Broch Bender, Roads Communications Manager
Desk 206-263-1189
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Map

Location map.
Map of the Fish Hatchery Road Bridge repair project location. Larger view JPG 786KB

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Project schedule

Mid-July 2021 – Bridge removal begins

Late-July 2021 – Bridge removal complete

August 2021 - Turn around signs installed; area replanted

Fall 2021 - Locked gates installed

Frequently asked questions

The area surrounding the Fish Hatchery Road Bridge is prone to flooding. Since removal of the bridge would not affect local access to residences on both sides of the bridge, it was determined that the benefits of removing the bridge altogether outweighed the environmental and financial costs of building a replacement bridge large enough to withstand flooding. Removal of Fish Hatchery Bridge also will help improve the local habitat by allowing a more natural connection between the Snoqualmie River and the 17-acre wetland northeast of NE Fish Hatchery Road.
The bridge closed to vehicle traffic in November 2018. The bridge remained open to pedestrians and bicycles until July 2021.
After the 2018/2019 storm season, Road Services crews placed a steel plate over the roadway and fenced off the area to make it usable for pedestrians. King County continued to inspect the bridge.

In October 2019, when the west-side erosion got worse, King County crews relocated the path to the east side.
King County looked at several alternatives. These included removal, repair, pedestrian, and replacement bridges. Repair was initially considered to be the most feasible option. However, the road serves limited traffic. It had also been damaged and closed from past flood events. Flood events will continue in the area. We also learned that the bridge does not affect emergency services as they have continued access to the areas they serve from either side of the bridge.

As the project developed, we received more input from many community members and partners. The decision to take down the bridge was made at the Fall City Community Association meeting held in October 2020.
We met with the Fall City Community Association meeting in October of 2020 with many community members in attendance. We consulted and received feedback from the King County Department of Natural Resources, emergency services, and the Tulalip and Snoqualmie Tribes.
The bridge abutments and piles will remain for now. Future removal depends on future potential habitat restoration studies.
This road no longer has parking because there is no through access from either side. Barriers block vehicle access just north of the old bridge and approximately 1900 feet south of the old bridge near the Plum Boat launch. Access to the boat launch remains.
The bridge had already suffered a lot of deterioration and damage by the time it was removed. If we kept it open, it is possible the bridge would eventually collapse into the creek and the broken asphalt and concrete in the water could harm the surrounding environment.
It is unlikely King County Parks will build a pedestrian bridge in this area for two main reasons: 1.) Building a new pedestrian bridge would be prohibitively expensive and very difficult to acquire the necessary building permits. 2.) The bridge would not connect with other King County trails.
The Snoqualmie River near the former Fish Hatchery Road Bridge is an important reach of the river for salmon, including Endangered Species Act-listed Chinook salmon. King County’s Water and Land Resources Division (WLRD) is interested in exploring opportunities to improve salmon habitat in the area of the decommissioned bridge and closed portion of Fish Hatchery Road. Any potential project or study would be completed in coordination with landowners and King County Road Services. At this time no project or study has been started; if you want to be added to the potential salmon habitat restoration project public outreach list, or if you have any questions about the potential project, please contact Andrea Mojzak, Snoqualmie Basin Steward, at amojzak@kingcounty.gov.
Contact us

24/7 Road Helpline: 206-477-8100 or 1-800-527-6237

TTY Relay: 711

Twitter: @KCRoads