Work on the Deception Pass and Canoe Pass bridges began again Monday, following a winter weather pause in the estimated two-year project that started in May 2019.
The project was initially estimated to be finished in the fall of 2020 and cost $22.6 million, though the pandemic caused delays.
A new contractor, Cekra, Inc., of North Carolina, is continuing the project, which involves stripping through layers of old paint and corrosion down to the bare metal before giving a fresh coat, which hasn’t been done on the bridge since it was built in 1935, said Jordan Longacre, spokesperson for the Washington State Department of Transportation. Corrosion on the old paint can weaken bridges over time.
“More than 18,000 people rely on these bridges every day as the only land access on and off Whidbey Island,” state project engineer Shane Spahr said in a press release when the project was announced.
Some of the paint is lead paint, and the Department of Ecology is working with the contractor to ensure full containment, Longacre said. Large tarps will be used to catch any lead paint stripped from the metal.Both lanes will be open throughout the day, though at times it may be reduced at night to one lane in order to move equipment. Night work may occur Saturday through Thursday.
Transportation cautions that noise in the area starting in March would be equivalent to “a rock concert,” and that Parks staff has free earplugs for visitors. Sandblasting work will be between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday, lasting for several months.
Parking turnouts near the bridges will be occupied by construction equipment.