The Whidbey parking lot at the Deception Pass bridge is closed to visitors until March 2022, Washington State Parks announced Friday.
The closure is supposed to ease access for construction crews as they work to repair and repaint the Deception Pass and Canoe Pass bridges.
The work is expected to be done by the end of the fall, according to Jordan Longacre, a spokesperson for the Washington State Department of Transportation.
Visitors should park at North Beach or West Beach on Whidbey Island, or Bowman Bay on Fidalgo Island, in Deception Pass State Park. The quickest way to take in the views from the bridges is a trail from North Beach.
State parks asked visitors not to park along the shoulder on Highway 20, but some drivers have been parking their vehicles there since the closure began. The small parking lot on the center island is also closed to visitors to make room for equipment.
The tour boat company Deception Pass Tours usually operates in the parking lot on the Whidbey side in the summer but will operate out of its main store at 5596 Highway 20 on Fidalgo Island.
Cekra Inc. from North Carolina took over the restoration project in February after the bondholder let go of the former contractor. Longacre said Cekra crews were left with more than half of the work to do, despite the former contractor having worked on the bridges since 2019. There was more paint build-up on the bridges than expected, Longacre said.
Crews will begin wrapping tarps around the Deception Pass span of the bridge sometime this month. The tarps prevent the lead-based paint chips and other sandblasting materials from escaping to the water below.
The tarps will only cover up to half of the bridge at any one time because of the windy conditions.
The budget for the project is now more than $23 million.
The bridges opened to drivers and pedestrians in 1935 and are a key attraction at Washington’s most popular state park.