Eagle delay ends, paving begins

Crews are supposed to finish paving Highway 20 south of Oak Harbor next week. - Nathan Whalen / Whidbey News-Times
Crews are supposed to finish paving Highway 20 south of Oak Harbor next week.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen / Whidbey News-Times

After a delay caused by nesting bald eagles, a paving project will finally be finished soon.

Work crews started Tuesday night on the last layer of paving on a stretch of Highway 20 south of Oak Harbor. They will be paving at night through 7 a.m. Thursday morning. It will begin again each night from Monday, July 21 to 7 a.m. Thursday, July 24.

Dave Chesson, spokesperson for the Washington State Department of Transportation, said he hopes the majority of the work on the project will be finished in the next two weeks. Once the paving is complete, workers will need to stripe the highway.

During the construction period, one lane of Highway 20 from Sidney Street to Scenic Heights Road will be closed from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m., July 15 through July 17. Flaggers will alternate traffic through the work zone and drivers should expect minor delays.

The final paving part of the project was delayed because of a pair of nesting bald eagles. Workers had to wait until July 15 before beginning their work again.

The eagles weren’t the only delay. The Department of Transportation tried to complete the final part of the paving last September, but the cold and damp weather prevented that from happening.

“We were shut out for three straight weeks,” Chesson said.

The $9.6 million project started last year and included lowering two hills on Highway 20 south of Oak Harbor.

Also taking place this week is more work on Highway 20 near the Shrimp Shack on Fidalgo Island that will also cause lane closures this week.

Lane closures started Monday and continue until Wednesday from 7:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. During the lane closures, crews will restripe the highway and install a concrete barrier to separate traffic from the construction project.

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