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Whidbey Island
and The Legend of Deception Pass

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Deception Pass Bridge Trivia

The steel arch across Canoe Pass was completed first. It was designed as a three-hinged arch for dead loads. After erection was completed, the central hinge was riveted, creating a two-hinged arch for live loads.

Extensive surveys were made by the state Department of Highways in 1908 to determine the cost of constructing a system of roads and bridges to connect Island and Skagit counties.

The two bridges support a 22-foot wide roadway with two 3-foot sidewalks. It cost more to paint the bridge in 1983 than it did to build the structure in 1935.

Department of Highways Contract No. 1929-S: Deception and Canoe Pass Bridges, 0.281 mile, steel cantilever and arch spans. Contractor: Puget Construction Company. Contract award: June 22 , 1934-$315,236.15, completed July 25, 1935.

Because the Deception Pass and Canoe Pass structures rise to a height of 180 feet above the channels providing a navigable passageway, it was not possible to build falsework. Consequently, both spans were erected by the cantilever method.

More than two decades after the original proposal, two steel structures were finally constructed across the swiftly moving tidal waters of Deception and Canoe passes.

Plans drawn for two steel arches and a miniature model of the proposed bridge were displayed at the Alaska-Yukon Pacific Exposition of 1909.

The Department of Highways' "First Biennial Highway Report" stated: "...The (Deception Pass Bridge) project is entirely feasible but its utility is open to question."

Total length of bridges: 1,487.08 feet. Width of roadway: 22 feet.

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