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A bad bump in the road concerns Whidbey drivers

A car is about to hit a bump on Highway 20 Wednesday afternoon. Driver have complained about the severity of the bump, which may have harmed vehicles. - Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times
A car is about to hit a bump on Highway 20 Wednesday afternoon. Driver have complained about the severity of the bump, which may have harmed vehicles.
— image credit: Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times

The on-again, off-again road construction project on Highway 20 south of Oak Harbor has hit another bump in the road. Actually, it's drivers who are hitting the bump.

And it's a big one.

Kirk Huffer, an employee at the Island County Auditor's Office, said many people at work Wednesday morning were complaining about an abrupt, unnerving ridge in the road caused by the roadwork, which began Tuesday night.

"It's like hitting a curb straight on at 40 miles per hour," he said. "One individual's car door flew open and it threw his car into neutral."

His own car developed a "shimmy" in the front end after the driving over the asphalt protuberance. He added that several other of his fellow workers' cars "bottomed out" and may have been damaged.

Huffer contacted the ICOM dispatch center and was told that others had also complained. He claimed there were no warning signs on the highway first thing Wednesday morning. That meant vehicles were hitting the bump at highway speeds.

Later in the day, a "bump" sign was added. Still, many of the southbound cars going over the bump were traveling at a pretty good clip. The noise of cars bottoming out was clearly audible.

There's actually three bumps in the stretch of highway, but the one near Eagle Vista Avenue is the real killer.

Work crews started Tuesday night on the last layer of paving on a stretch of Highway 20 south of Oak Harbor. The work is supposed to be completed by Thursday, July 24.

The paving is the last portion of a $9.6-million project on the highway between Swantown Avenue and Sidney Street, which included the lowering of two hills and the addition of a much-needed turn lane at Rolling Hills.

The Department of Transportation originally scheduled the project to be completed last September, but the cold and damp weather halted work.

This spring, the work was delayed again because of the proximity of nesting bald eagles.

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