Following a four-year closure, Whidbey Island’s only private bridge should be back in action and open to vehicular traffic this week.
The Lagoon Point Community Association recently finished replacing the Seashore Avenue Bridge, a small one-lane span that has served the tiny waterfront community off Smuggler’s Cove Road since the 1970s. It replaces an old wooden bridge, which was built in the 1990s and closed for safety reasons in 2014.
The new bridge is a significant upgrade. Like its predecessor, it’s short at just 40 feet, but version 2.0 was built strong. It has the same load rating as an interstate highway bridge and can shoulder a fully loaded firetruck.
“It didn’t turn out too bad,” said Duane Rawson, president of the homeowner’s association. “People are, for the most part, pretty happy with it.”
The homeowner’s association is composed of about 450 properties that are spread out along the waterfront, the lagoon and Smuggler’s Cove Road. Infrastructure work concerning the water, such as a dredging project a few years ago, have been a source of contention as they’re funded by the entire community.
The bridge is considered by association officials as a vital access point as it connects the northern and southern portions of the neighborhood. Both sides have access roads which are susceptible to landslides. Having two accesses means emergency vehicles could reach any home in the event of a single road closure.
Replacing the bridge took about four years; three and half of permitting and about five months of construction. The project was budgeted at $696,000, but the final bill isn’t in yet, and Rawson expects it to be about 4-5 percent less than projected. That works out to about $1,500 per property owner, he said.
The bridge’s claim to fame is one of just two bridges in all of Island County. The only other is located on Camano Island, according to Bill Oakes, director of Island County Public Works.
Deception Pass Bridge is a publicly owned structure and technically only one side touches the island.
Rawson said the last bit of work is scheduled for Wednesday. He’s hoping the bridge will officially open on Thursday. A dedication ceremony is loosely planned for Saturday.