-Excerpt from Exploring Deception Pass by Jack Hartt
The building of the Deception Pass Bridge began in August of 1934 with the construction of the massive concrete pier footings. The contractor built a concrete mixing plant on the Whidbey Island side for the south cantilever piers, using a 6000 foot pipeline from Cranberry Lake for water. A second plant north of Canoe Pass created the concrete for the north piers, getting water from Pass Lake from over a ¼ mile away. A cableway connected Fidalgo Island with Pass Island to transport materials to the middle.
Meanwhile the Wallace Bridge and Structural Steel Company fabricated the steel members and transported them to the site from Seattle. They used liberal amounts of silicon steel instead of carbon steel because its stress capability was higher.
The steel work at the Pass began in January of 1935. They started with the north arch over Canoe Pass then built the south arch, finishing that side in March. Then the north cantilever section grew out from Pass Island toward Whidbey, and then the south cantilever section from Whidbey. By early June they were ready to place the 200-foot suspended span to join the other two together.
It was a hot day in June when the crane operator lowered the final section in to place. It was three inches too long.
Paul Jarvis, founder of the Puget Construction Company, pulled out his pad and pencil and worked out the coefficient for expansion for the center span. He calculated that a temperature drop of 30 degrees would shrink the section to allow it to fit. At 4 a.m. the next morning, workers turned on floodlights, and they lowered the span into place, where it fit perfectly. They put the locking pins into place by hand.