The project was initially estimated to be finished in the fall of 2020 and cost $22.6 million, though the pandemic has helped delay the time estimate.
A new contractor, Cekra, Inc., of North Carolina, will continue 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, Jordan Longacre, spokesperson for the state Department of Transportation said. Corrosion on the old paint can weaken the 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 them to ensure full containment, Longacre said. Large tarps will be used to catch any lead paint stripped from the metal.
Current estimations as to when the work will finish are currently unknown, though they have 242 working days to complete it, Longacre said. A schedule from Cekra, Inc., which would estimate when the project may be finished, is due by early March. Much of the work is weather-dependent, Longacre said.
The cost estimation of the project will remain the same with the new contractor, Longacre said.
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. Lane closures are expected this week after 8 p.m. Night work may occur Saturday through Thursday as the work continues.
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. The 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.