City busy building, maintaining and repairing throughout construction season

It is officially summer, and our busiest time of the year for building, maintaining and repairing City streets, parks and other properties. You’ll see evidence of our hard work all over the City — traffic flaggers and orange cones, fenced off parks and trails, street detours and closures — as we make progress on new … Read more

Jul 03, 2013 - by Mayor Kelli Linville

It is officially summer, and our busiest time of the year for building,
maintaining and repairing City streets, parks and other properties. You’ll
see evidence of our hard work all over the City — traffic flaggers and
orange cones, fenced off parks and trails, street detours and closures — as
we make progress on new trails, safer intersections, sandy beaches and much
more.

Here are some of the projects you’ll see progress on this summer:

I-5/Bakerview Road interchange improvements: Investments
are needed around the I-5/Bakerview Road interchange to improve public
safety and support economic development in this fast-growing area. This
year, we are taking initial steps to increase safety and circulation,
including installing new through lanes and turn lanes. This project
represents an impressive partnership among state and local agencies that
will result in cost effective, long-term mobility benefits and economic
development opportunities for the region.

Wharf Street roundabout: A project to increase safety
and traffic flow at the intersection of Boulevard, N. State Street, Forest
Street and Wharf Street includes installing a roundabout and making other
improvements. In addition to enhanced safety for pedestrian, bicycle and
vehicle users, this intersection is designed to serve as a gateway to
downtown, the Waterfront District, Fairhaven and Western Washington
University.

Padden Creek daylighting: Padden Creek runs through a
120-year-old brick tunnel, a portion of it beneath Old Fairhaven Parkway.
This summer the state Department of Transportation is building a new bridge
there so that in 2015 the City can replace the tunnel to open about 2,200
feet of the creek to the daylight. We're pleased to work cooperatively with
the state on this project to re-create a natural stream bed, which will
allow fish passage, improve habitat and reduce flooding.

Pedestrian and bicycle safety projects: Several projects
identified as priorities in the Pedestrian Master Plan and funded by
Transportation Benefit District #1 are planned for construction this summer,
including a sidewalk along Bill McDonald Parkway connecting WWU to the
Samish Urban Village. Enhanced pedestrian crossings also will be added at
the key intersections of State and Maple streets, James and W. Illinois
streets, and Cornwall Avenue and Maple Street.

Street improvement projects: Our regular roadway
maintenance program protects our sizable investment in streets and ensures
quality surfaces for mobility and public safety. This summer we will be
completing repairs, resurfacing and drainage improvements all over the City,
including portions of Highland Drive, Woburn Street, West College Way and
Hannegan Road.

Boulevard Park improvements: Major improvements underway
now at Boulevard Park will result in wonderful, updated amenities to this
popular waterside park. A new sand and gravel beach will replace some of the
rubble on the shoreline, to reduce erosion, improve habitat and provide a
soft, sandy shoreline for people to use. The park’s sewer line also is being
replaced, and a fun new playground was completed in May. The majority of the
work should be complete in the fall, with some tasks extending into next
year.

New waterfront trail: Providing public access to the
waterfront is one of the most important goals of our Waterfront District
redevelopment project with the Port of Bellingham, and improvements now
underway will create a new waterfront trail for people to enjoy. This summer
the City is making trail and parking improvements to allow the public to use
the trail atop the breakwater surrounding the former Georgia Pacific
treatment lagoon. This trail is approximately a mile long and offers a
spectacular waterfront experience with unique views of the city and the bay.
We are moving quickly on this project and hope to have it open to the public
by mid-August.

Civic field turf replacement: The artificial turf at
Civic Stadium, installed in 2000, has exceeded its lifespan and will be
replaced by the beginning of September. The stadium will be closed in
mid-July while we remove the old synthetic turf and roll in new turf with
permanent markings for football, soccer and lacrosse. The new synthetic turf
products available today are higher quality than in year’s past, which will
enhance the safety and usability of this popular sports facility.

Arne Hanna Aquatic Center pool resurfacing: The Arne
Hanna Aquatic Center was constructed in 1994 and has since become one of the
most-visited recreation facilities in the City. The instructional and lap
pools were last resurfaced in 2004 and are deteriorating. The pools will be
repaired and resurfaced during the annual maintenance shut-down period in
August. This work is typical for regular maintenance and upkeep of indoor
public pools and is necessary for continued public use at this facility.

Post Point wastewater treatment plant upgrades:
Construction of the Post Point Wastewater Treatment Plant improvements
continues, with significant steps expected during this summer construction
season including structure testing, pump installation and major plant pipe
connections. This intense work phase will include full plant flow re-routes
and occasional periods of 24-hour-per-day construction operations. This
multi-year project – the largest capital project we’ve tackled in almost two
decades – adds new facilities to increase the capacity of the secondary
treatment process, which keeps the plant in compliance with permit
requirements.

These are just a few of the biggest, most-visible construction projects
we have underway this summer. Many other smaller projects are in progress,
too, which also will be visible in neighborhoods throughout Bellingham.

Please pardon our disruption, construction underway

Sometimes our construction work interrupts transportation or the use of
parks and other facilities. We wish we didn’t have to cause disruptions
during the summer, especially when busy streets and popular parks and other
recreation facilities are affected. Many factors influence our decisions
about the timing of our work, including permitting regulations, purchasing
requirements, contractor availability, and the need to complete some kinds
of projects during Washington’s short dry season. For projects that include
improvements in and around the water, such as those underway at Boulevard
Park, we also must work within certain timeframes to protect fish and
wildlife habitat.

We thank you for your patience while we maintain valuable City properties
and bring you upgraded parks and new trails, safe and convenient
transportation routes, and other improvements to our City. More information
about these projects can be found on the City website, and please contact my
office at 778-8100 or
mayorsoffice@cob.org
if you have any questions.

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