Letters to the Editor

A new bridge won’t be cheap

I fear your recent story on the need for a new Deception Pass bridge may have misled readers as to the current condition of the bridge and the need for a replacement.

First and foremost, the bridge is in excellent condition and has a long life left. The state’s strategy, and it is a sound one, is to extend the life of the bridge through regular inspections, maintenance and preservation. The only reason the bridge is one of many on a long list for eventual replacement is because it doesn’t meet today’s standards for traffic capacity and wide-load vehicles.

Second, there are some 200 other bridges in our state that are older and in more urgent need of replacement. The Deception Pass bridge is physically sound and is outside the primary area of earthquake concern. It falls low on the state’s list of priorities compared to far more urgent needs like the 520 floating bridge, the Alaskan Way Viaduct and the Columbia River Crossing.

That said, local officials are correct to make replacing the Deception Pass bridge a priority for the future. While that day will not come soon, building the case beforehand will make the bridge easier to fund when its time finally comes. The cost will not be cheap — building a new bridge would cost at least $90 million in “today” dollars, or about $180 million to fund a bonded project, and that doesn’t include money for teardown, environmental mitigation, or alternative routes during construction.

Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen

10th Legislative District

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