JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – United States Army Corps of Engineers project managers, engineers and civil contractors redirected Clover Creek beneath the new McChord Field airfield bridge on Joint Base Lewis-McChord Jan. 12 to 14.
During the construction of the airfield bridge, Clover Creek was diverted using pumps and dewatering wells to drain and dry the construction site.
“The completion of this portion of the project is an incredible achievement and a testament to the hard work of all of our engineers and contractors,” said Army 1st Lt. Bryan Dixon, USACE project engineer. “In August this wasn’t much but a pit in the ground. Now, less than six months later, we’re happy to return the runway to full operational capability and redirect the creek.”
Clover Creek, a key ecological waterway for salmon, trout and other fish, now flows without obstruction through a fish-friendly channel beneath the bridge.
“The channel running under the entire width of the airfield is extremely unique and at 1,800 feet, this is one of the longest structures of its type,” said Jonathan Daley, USACE project engineer. “Its unique design simulates a natural streambed that will look and feel familiar to the fish swimming through it.”
The channel tunnel was designed according to current WA state and federal fish passage standards and is outfitted with lighting that simulates the regular day and night cycle and architectural innovations that prevent erosion.
“Because of its length, the tunnel is like a cave and gets extremely dark after 100 to 150 feet in,” Daley said. "The LED lighting system we’ve installed will help fish and other aquatic organisms live in and pass through the structure naturally.”
Designed to handle water flows generated by a 100-plus year storm, compared to the previous culverts’ design to handle a 50-year stormflow, the new channel and bridge structure have already begun to improve the local environment by providing improved water quality and fish passage through the greater JBLM region.
New bridge restores full McChord airfield capabilities
Joint Base Lewis-McChord