Repair and repainting of Deception Pass Bridge is being suspended for the winter, and a new contractor may be hired in the spring to complete the work, according to a state Department of Transportation spokesperson.
A wintertime work suspension is fairly normal for WSDOT projects, said spokesperson Frances Fedoriska. “It just gets too cold to chip away the old paint and do the work.”
This week, traffic across Deception Pass will be reduced to a single lane overnight while Eagle Industrial Painting prepares the area for the suspension.
Eagle Industrial Painting is the current contractor responsible for the $22-million project to repaint and replace a portion of the steel on the bridge.
Last year, the project was suspended from December to March because of winter weather, Fedoriska said.
Eagle’s project manager said that crews can only paint in temperatures between 35-115 degrees Fahrenheit in a Sept. 2 Whidbey News-Times story.
About a third of the project had been completed in September, WSDOT project engineer Shane Spahr told the News-Times in the previous story.
The project was originally scheduled to be completed this year but was pushed back to October 2021 because of the amount of paint buildup on the bridges.
Though she doesn’t know the reasons, Fedoriska said Eagle may not be the contractor doing the work come spring.
“On Friday, the surety bond holder issued a notice for Eagle to enter winter suspension and take a few steps back to assess the work and determine next steps and Eagle’s involvement with it,” Fedoriska said.
“They are shopping the contract to other contractors,” she added.
Fedoriska said WSDOT does not know the catalyst for the bond holder’s action.
In the event that a new contractor is hired, Fedoriska said, the project would still be completed in fall 2021 and the public would not be responsible for additional costs.
Most of the work on the Canoe Pass bridge is completed and crews will move on to the larger Deception Pass bridge next, she said.
“This no way, shape or form adds cost to the taxpayers,” she said. “Taxpayers will not be on the hook for any more than Eagle was assigned when Eagle bid on the contract in 2018.”