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Bridge for Kingston's Carpenter Creek included in state budget

KINGSTON — The project to bridge a creek mouth in Kingston will finally see funding this year.

A budget package passed by the state Legislature this week included about $2.8 million to replace a narrow culvert at the mouth of Carpenter Creek with a bridge, Puget Sound Partnership spokesman Frank Mendizabal said.

The project was part of a package of funding requests for Puget Sound Partnership. After the budget is approved by Gov. Chris Gregoire, the project money will be routed through the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to Kitsap County Public Works.

The Carpenter Creek project will remove the 12-foot-wide culvert which carries water between Carpenter Creek and Apple Tree Cove beneath South Kingston Road and replace it with a 70-foot-long bridge.

The intent is to improve habitat by slowing the tidewater that rushes into slough. Migrating salmon could use the slough as a resting ground, county shoreline planner Patty Charnas said.

"It's these areas that are very important to protect," Charnas said.

Design work on the project has been completed. With funding on the way the county can finish permitting work and move toward bidding. Charnas said it is possible work could begin this year.

False starts have plagued the proposed Carpenter Creek project for nearly a decade. It lost out on federal funding twice since 2005.

Gregoire listed the project as a priority as the Legislature entered the 2010 session, but the House of Representatives later released a budget stripped of new construction spending. Money was restored in the final budget proposal.

The project received support from Kitsap County and local legislators. A group of North Kitsap residents traveled to Olympia to testify in favor of the project early in the legislative session.

"We're really relieved," said Naomi Maasberg, administrative director of Stillwaters Environmental Center in Kingston, a major proponent of the project.

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