Amid stay-at-home order, ‘essential’ construction depends on who you ask

Mar 30, 2020, 10:12 AM | Updated: 1:39 pm
Key Arena demolition and renovation, construction...
Ongoing construction at KeyArena. (Michael Simeona, KIRO Radio)
(Michael Simeona, KIRO Radio)

You will likely continue to see workers on big public construction projects despite Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order.

How Washington’s stay-at-home order will affect construction projects

Almost all of the Washington Department of Transportation construction projects have been put on hold. Those job sites were locked up and secured late last week, but the state will continue with court-ordered fish passage and culvert work and some behind-the-scenes design work for future project.

That came despite ultimately fruitless efforts to develop procedures that would protect construction workers on WSDOT projects and ensure they could continue working.

Sound Transit said it is monitoring its job sites for proper distancing and sanitization, but it plans to continue with its projects, like the light rail extensions to Lynnwood and Bellevue.

The Seattle Department of Transportation also plans to continue its projects, like the Fairview Bridge replacement and emergency work on the West Seattle Bridge.

Also continuing — despite recommendations to the contrary by Gov. Inslee’s office and the state Department of Commerce — will be the project to renovate KeyArena. While government officials mentioned at least twice in recent days that the project was not critical, Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke cited exemptions allowing it to resume after a brief half last week.

“There’s a lot there, [and] there are going to be exclusions,” Monty Anderson with the Building Trades and Construction Council told KIRO Nights last week. “You can’t just leave (KeyArena) for two weeks and hope it doesn’t fill up with water.”

Full details on what’s allowed under Inslee’s stay-at-home order

In a recent Seattle Times report, Leiweke stated that the relatively small window of time to attach the hefty roof to permanent supports necessitates continued work. Workers on the job will be required to maintain social distancing and sanitization measures as the project continues.

MyNorthwest staff contributed to this report

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Amid stay-at-home order, ‘essential’ construction depends on who you ask