Why Does It Take Two Years to Paint the Agate Pass Bridge?

By Nanda Olney

It only takes a few moments to cross the Agate Pass Bridge, but maintenance to ensure the safety and longevity of the bridge is an ongoing priority for the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Beginning in spring of last year, drivers crossing the bridge were greeted with the sight of white tarps, netting and evidence that a two-year bridge painting project was underway. This is the first time since 1991 that the bridge will get a full makeover, which includes strip- ping the metal down to bare steel and repainting. The project was always intended to take 24 months to complete and is on schedule though work halted for the winter months.

“Mother Nature is driving the boat,” said Doug Adamson, spokesperson for WSDOT, as work on the bridge can only be completed in dry, warm weather. “The bridge is out there 24/7, 365 days a year, in all types of weather. It needs regular upkeep.” The maintenance includes an annual cleaning, which will pause this year due to construction, and a bi-annual inspection.

Adamson said the most common question he gets is about the color of the bridge. It will be painted the same green color drivers are used to. WSDOT has four approved bridge colors depending on type. As a steel structure, Agate Pass Bridge will remain the recognizable Cascade Green for the foreseeable future. While work is underway on the bridge, Adamson reminds all drivers to put down their phones and keep both eyes on the road.

Why Does It Take Two Years to Paint the Agate Pass Bridge?