Commuters brace as Deception Pass bridge closure begins soon

Drivers cross the Deception Pass bridge recently. Traffic will be heavily congested during evening closures as crews work on the structure.

Deception Pass bridge will close to traffic for five consecutive nights beginning Sunday, July 12, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The closures are scheduled from 7:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.

Meanwhile, the only other way to the mainland for commuters is the state ferry between Clinton and Mukilteo. Ferries Division announced the following extra sailings during the closure period, July 12-17: 9 p.m., 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 a.m. leaving Clinton, and 9:30 p.m., 2, 3 and 4 a.m. departing from Mukilteo.

Work on the bridge spans is weather dependent and the date could be pushed back due to rain or cool temperatures. If all goes well, the bridge paving should be done by Friday morning, July 17, according to the state agency.

The bridge work is the last portion of a project to repave Highway 20, from Frostad Road on Whidbey Island to Sharpes Point on Fidalgo Island, which is about five miles.

Contractor crews finished the roadway paving on June 23.

Tom Pearce, spokesman for the department of transportation, said the dates were chosen partly because the contractor wants to get the work done as soon as possible and has the necessary equipment reserved for that week.

Also, the agency claimed that officials have been working with businesses and others for months to coordinate the closure.

“We know closing the bridges for five nights will inconvenience some people, but this plan strikes a balance between the needs of drivers and the most efficient way to successfully complete this critical work,” Engineering Manager Jay Drye said.

“Since last fall, we have worked with local businesses, communities, emergency services, the Navy and state agencies to prepare for this effort.”

Pearce explained that the road workers will grind the pavement off, do whatever minor repairs may be necessary to the bridge deck and then repave.

Full closures are necessary, the agency reported, because the bridge roadways are only 22 feet wide, which doesn’t provide enough room to accommodate construction equipment and traffic simultaneously.

Ideally, asphalt should be replaced every 15 years.

The asphalt on the Deception Pass and Canoe Pass bridges is about 20 years old, the agency reported.