WSDOT suspending construction work due to COVID-19 safety concerns

Following the state Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, WSDOT is suspending most state construction work for at least two weeks. WSDOT is asking our contractor partners to safely secure construction jobsites by the end of the day, Thursday, March 26.

WSDOT has been working closely with our contractor, labor and industry partners to develop COVID-19 response plans that would protect all of the people working on our projects by meeting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. Unfortunately, despite these efforts, it is not possible to meet the guidelines while maintaining construction. There have also been difficulties sustaining sufficient staff levels. In some cases this week, between 25% and 40% of a given crew was not available to work on WSDOT construction projects.

We recognize the profound impact this decision has on thousands of individuals. However, we believe it is critical that we take every appropriate step available to protect the lives and health of our loved ones, families, our friends, coworkers and neighbors. These are important projects to Washington, and we remain committed to restarting them when safe to do so to ensure the transportation system continues to support our statewide economy and economic recovery.

WSDOT will use the intervening time to work closely with industry partners to ensure appropriate protective equipment, procedures and training are in place when projects restart.

State officials will be closely monitoring the trajectory of the virus over the next few weeks in close consultation with the Governor’s Office. Once the numbers start trending in a favorable direction and appropriate measures are place, WSDOT will look to begin restarting our projects.

While most state projects will halt, work to complete fish passage culvert work will continue in order to make progress on the federal court injunction deadlines and to comply with time-sensitive fish windows for in-water work. Work on the design portion of design-build projects will continue although fieldwork to support design will be suspended. Some details on that work are evolving in this rapidly changing situation and WSDOT will share more details when they are available.