Meeting to outline upcoming traffic projects

State engineers are planning two major projects on Whidbey Island this construction season, but the daytime traffic impacts should be confined to the month of June, according to Project Engineer Shane Spahr with the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Anyone who wants to ask questions or learn more about the projects may come to a WSDOT open house 5:30-7:30 p.m., March 12 at Oak Harbor High School.

State transportation experts will be on hand to talk, as will representatives from Island Transit and Island County Public Works; both agencies are planning work in the Oak Harbor area, according to a WSDOT press release.

The largest project is the painting of Deception Pass Bridge, a $22.5-million project that may not be completed until the end of 2020, weather depending, according to Spahr.

Spahr said the bridge, Whidbey’s northern gateway to Skagit County, is painted every 20 years.

This time around, the contractor, an Ohio company, will sand blast the old paint off before repainting the structure.

Corroded steel beams on the bridge will also be replaced.

Traffic impacts will be confined to nighttime lane closures. Bridge visitors may start to see equipment in the area as the contractor is starting to get ready for the project March 25, but the work likely won’t start until a month later.

The state is also building a roundabout on State Highway 20 at the intersection with Banta Road, a project aimed at improving traffic snarls and increasing safety.

The intersection is often congested with cars leaving Naval Air Station Whidbey Island from a gate on Banta Road.

Work on the $2.5-million project is slated to begin May 29, though the bid hasn’t been awarded yet.

The city of Oak Harbor will also be doing earlier work in the area on water lines, which have to be relocated because of the roundabout.

Spahr said the majority of the traffic disruption will occur in June. The contract will have incentives to get the work done quicker, he said.

The state is also scheduled to do minor safety projects in the Freeland area of State Highway 525, but it will last less than a month.

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