Highway 20 to get facelift in Oak Harbor

Along with construction on Pioneer Way, Oak Harbor residents can expect to contend with more than a month of road work this summer on the city’s busiest street.

The state Department of Transportation is planning to resurface about 2.7 miles of Highway 20, from Harbor Vista Drive to NE Narrows Avenue, beginning in June. The $2.9 million project is anticipated to last about 40 days.

In a presentation before the Oak Harbor City Council this past week, Marco Foster, the state agency’s Mount Baker area manager, said the road hasn’t been resurfaced since 1991 and the effects are beginning to show.

“As you may have noticed, this section of highway is starting to look run-down,” he said.

Laying down new blacktop is essential maintenance and must be done to avoid more expensive and extensive repairs. A total of 88 sidewalk ramps and 10 traffic islands will also be upgraded so that they meet new standards of the American Disabilities Act.

Milling and paving is expected to last about three weeks. To help mitigate the impact on traffic, most of the work will be done at night. Drivers can expect single-lane closures to begin no earlier than 7 p.m. and no later than 8 p.m., Sunday night through Friday morning. Most will occur between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., according to Dave Chesson, a spokesman for the transportation agency, but an exact schedule has yet to be established.

Work will also be avoided during the following city special events: the Oak Harbor Marathon, Holland Happenings, Beachcombers Bazaar, Race Week, Ranger Relay, Get your Guts in Gear, and Tour de Whidbey.

However, drivers should expect minor delays and bicyclists should choose alternate routes due to grooved road surfaces. The project may be a significant disruption for residents who live along or near Highway 20.

“It’s going to be a little noisy for some of the neighbors,” Foster said.

According to Chesson, transportation officials know the project will be inconvenient and have taken several steps to reduce the impact.

A project website has been established, along with a telephone hotline for questions and concerns, and mailers will be sent to local residents and businesses. The public can also get information by subscribing to weekly email updates and by downloading the agency’s smart phones applications available on Droid and iPhone.

“We’re going to do everything we can to do outreach before and while the project is going on,” Chesson said.

The project

Project website:

Email updates:

Contact Dave Chesson: 360-757-5970 or

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