WAPA recognizes the impact the COVID-19 (aka novel coronavirus) is having on your business, employees, and families. We know the safety and health of your employees is your priority. During these challenging times, WAPA strives to serve as a trusted resource for your company and employees.   A central location for resources for the asphalt industry is being hosted at the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) website.  The NAPA COVID-19 launch page is HERE.

NAPA is working daily, in conjunction with the State Asphalt Pavement Associations (SAPAs), to provide key resources gathered from around the country.

During this time of unprecedented uncertainty, WAPA urges you to stay informed, stay healthy and stay safe.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) suspended nearly all highway and ferry system contract work as of March 26, 2020 after the Governor elected to not designate highway construction work an “essence service” during the duration of his “Stay home, stay safe” executive order.   Previously, on March 19th, WSDOT instituted a COVID-19 Response Plan directive.  All active WSDOT contracts require Contractor/ Subcontractor derived and approved COVID-19 health and safety plans to be approved and in place for construction work to resume.  Contractors should continue to work with their WSDOT project office contacts to review/ refine and update these plans so there will be minimal conflict and maximum COVID safety on active project sites.

On April 24, 2020, the Governor signed Proclamation 20-25, defining a path for projects with low-risk activities to re-start.  Low risk basically means that work can be performed safely with 6-feet of physical distancing in concert with COVID-19 appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) – Key documents and resources specific to Washington state and Phase 1 rules are available HERE.  Included  in this link are letters from WAPA supporting the re-start highway construction projects and supporting federal funding increases for surface transportation construction.

The Washington State Dept. of Labor and Industries published its Washington-Coronavirus-Hazard-Considerations-for-Employers-5-2-2020 (1) – Mask Matrix.  This “face covering matrix” came after a lot of discernment by L & I.  It is a good reference for which types of face mask will be needed by crews at different levels of potential COVID-19 exposure.  This should be a key reference going forward as road construction crews continue to work under COVID safety protocols.

COVID-19 site specific health and safety work plans need to address key items such as pre-shift screening, physical distancing (6 feet means 6 feet), PPE and minimizing physical interchanges (no contact tickets, virtual meetings etc.).  There are good templates of  COVID-19 health and safety plans posted on the NAPA website.  Washington state phase designated COVID-19 guidelines need to be incorporated into any plans for construction in our state.

Phase 2 guidance for construction was published on May 15, 2020.  The COVID Phase 2 Job Site Requirements – 5.15.2020 outline the requirements for COVID site safety once a county has been designated as being eligible to move to Phase 2 opening status.  The Governors COVID19 Phase2 Construction Memo 5.15.2020 summarizes this phase of activity.

In Washington state we are relying on the standards included in the Phase 1 & Phase 2 COVID Job Site Requirements and the Dept. of Labor and Industries “Mask Matrix” (see links above).  OSHA has also issued COVID related guidance that includes some additional information that should be helpful in planning for construction crew protection.

Another source of information, targeted specifically to the public works community, is available at the American Public Works Association (APWA) resource webpage titled “Coronavirus and the Public Works Community“.

UPDATE: WSDOT and state highway Contractors have been very effective in working safely and in protecting our employees.  WSDOT issued this report – COVID 19 Response – for state highway projects built in 2020.  As a work sector, the highway contracting COVID infection rates is approx. 20% (2.8 per thousand) of the comparable statewide infection rate (14.4 per thousand).

There are no anticipated work stoppages for WSDOT highway construction contracts in 2021 PROVIDED that Contractors renew/ refresh their COVID-19 site specific health and safety work plan when construction projects begin and adhere to the plan.  Meetings/ interactions with WSDOT will remain largely virtual through at least July 2021 and will be assessed throughout the season as COVID-19 statistics are assessed by the Governor.