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Whidbey Island
and The Legend of Deception Pass

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Deception Pass Bridge Facts

Before the bridge people crossed between Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands by ferry. It operated hourly between Blout's Point (Yokeko Point) on Fidalgo Island and Hoypus Point on Whidbey Island.

Captain George Morse first submitted the idea of a bridge spanning Deception Pass to the state legislature in 1907.

December 1933, Washington Emergency Relief Administration allocated $245,000 to be matched by $150,000 in county funds and $87,000 in federal funds, New Deal funds.

August 6, 1934, the project officially started with excavation work on the first pier for the 510-foot Canoe Pass Bridge. The cantilever method in which each half of the bridge supports itself was used in the construction.

The two bridges support a 22-foot wide roadway with two 3-foot sidewalks.

1,660 tons of steel make up the two spans.

Total length of the bridge: 1,487.08 feet.

The contractor was Puget Construction Company.

The contract was awarded June 22, 1934 for $315,236.15.

The pier work on Whidbey was completed in mid-October, 1934.

The road boss and his crews, often including farmers who worked part-time for wages during hard times, worked on the bridge approach on Whidbey and trucked supplies to the area.

Since most of the bridge work involved skilled labor, there were no hard feelings locally about construction crews coming in from outside the area.

Young workers from the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) living at Deception Pass State Park contributed to the work on the bridge approaches.

The project continued for nearly 12 months.

A 6,000-foot pipeline was laid from Cranberry Lake to the bridge site to facilitate the mixing and curing of concrete.

Next a high line was thrown across Canoe Pass and rigged with a carriage of 8,000 pounds capacity.

A 2,000-foot pipeline was laid from Pass Lake to the bridge site on the Fidalgo side and pier work was completed there in January 1935.

The arch over Canoe Pass was completed in March and a railroad track was laid across the bridge to construct the temporary 235-foot trestle between the two approaches.

By the middle of April the north half of the cantilever span from Pass Island to Whidbey was finished.

On June 1 the south half was connected and the steelwork completed. By the end of June the arch span decks and sidewalks had been placed. But the dirt fill and road across Pass Island were delayed when state officials decided that although the Island was part of the state park, the counties were responsible for the fill.

Skagit County finally provided 10,000 yards of fill for the island. The bridge was completed on July 25, 1935.

On a sunny Wednesday, July 31, 1935, approximately 12,000 people gathered for the dedication ceremonies.

Included in the festivities were Governor Clarence Martin, past and current state and local officials, drum and bugle corps, high school bands, bridge association members, state highway representatives and the bridge contractors.

The assembled parties marched from either side of the bridge to the center island, where Wanamaker was given the honor of cutting the opening ribbon with specially crafted silver scissors.

Reference: Anacortes Museum files, compiled by Terry Slotemaker, (c)Anacortes Museum, 1995

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