City road and projects report for April 12-15

April showers, ongoing construction could impact travel

April 09, 2021 - by Amy Cloud, Communications and Outreach

April showers bring May flowers, and sometimes also traffic impacts.  Be sure to stay alert when driving on rain-slicked roads. It is also a good idea to be aware of ongoing street construction that may impact traffic.  Not all are City of Bellingham projects, but still effect travel through town, such as the various construction projects along Samish Way.  As always, please be mindful of Health Department recommendations when you’re out and about and, please, travel with care.

NEW / PENDING: Padden Creek fish passage – I-5 and State Route 11

A pair of culverts under Interstate 5 and State Route 11 in south Bellingham have blocked salmon and other fish from traveling upstream for years. Soon, a Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) project begins to replace those culverts. That will result in lane closures and some detours. For more information, check out the WSDOT news release on the project which begins Monday, April 19.  

State and Ellis – bridge replacement

Work begins shortly on a City project to replace an 80-year-old wood-supported bridge on one of the major traffic routes through Bellingham. The project, anticipated to take up to nine months, will result in a new single span concrete structure over Whatcom Creek. The wooden piles within Whatcom Creek will be removed and the in-stream habitat below the bridge restored. Businesses in the area will remain open, though drivers can expect some intermittent road and lane closures. Beginning a week from Monday, on April 19, the road will be closed to traffic and a detour will reroute traffic to Ohio Street, Cornwall Avenue, and York Street. (View detour map here.) Northbound Forest Street and Ellis Street will experience some impacts between April 19-30 as utility crews work to relocate services. Once the City’s contractor begins work, there will be minimal impacts there. Utility crews 7 a.m.  to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. For more information, please contact Aric Smathers, P.E. project engineer, at (360) 778-7942 or or visit the State and Ellis bridge replacement project webpage.

Orchard Drive connector – I-5 underpass (pictured)  

The Orchard Drive extension project will create an arterial connection between James Street at Orchard Drive under I-5 and will connect to the Birchwood Avenue / Squalicum Parkway intersection.  Once the new street is in place, it will provide a direct connection from the King Mountain neighborhood to the hospital and alleviate congestion on Ellis Street as well as the Meridian and Sunset Drive I-5 crossings. The project will include bicycle lanes in both directions and lighted sidewalks on the north side of Orchard and will convert the James Street intersection to a stop light. A lane closure is planned for Wednesday, April 14, on the north side to connect to a water main in James Street. No detours are expected.  This project will also close a segment of the Squalicum Creek Trail where it passes under I-5 for the duration of the project.  For more information, visit the Orchard Drive Extension webpage or contact the project engineer, Craig Mueller, P.E., at or (360) 778-7922.

Lake Padden Park – sewer project

Work to upgrade the sewer facilities and pump stations is nearing completion, as the cleanup work remains, use caution in the work areas. For more information, visit the Lake Padden Lift Stations project webpage or contact Larry Scholten, P.E., project engineer, or (360) 778-7923.

2020 TBD Projects and 40th Street sidewalk  

The 40th Street sidewalk and 2020 TBD (Transportation Benefit District) project are largely complete with mitigation work at 40th Street and Elwood underway.  Striping work remains to be done; however,  the timing is weather-dependent. Road users through the area should expect possible sidewalk and lane closures and associated delays. Flaggers will allow for local access. For more information, visit the 2020 TBD Projects and 40th Street Sidewalk website or contact Freeman (Fritz) Anthony, P.E., project engineer, at or (360) 778-7924.    

West Horton project

The West Horton Road project is wrapping up with landscaping and site clean-up activities underway. The project provides access for all users through the corridor and to parking for Julianna Park. For more information, visit the West Horton Road phase 1 website or contact Freeman (Fritz) Anthony, P.E., project engineer, at or (360) 778-7924.

Northwest/Bakerview Intersection Improvements

Work is completed on this intersection project to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety and efficiency through the reconstruction of curb ramps, sidewalk, traffic islands, and installation of improved visibility pavement markings. For more information, visit the Northwest/Bakerview Intersection Improvements website. 

2020-2021 downtown Public Library renovations

Bellingham Public Library has received a “certificate of substantial completion” for the construction phase of the Central Library remodel project. This allows several additional projects to progress before the Library can reopen in late spring, including installation of public-use technology and staff workspaces, and relocation of collections. The elevator remains out of service as upgrades are taking place. The elevator work should be fully complete shortly. Although the library remains closed to the public, distribution of books continues with curbside pickup. For more information contact Carol Rofkar, Superintendent of Communications/Facilities/Fleet/Traffic, at or (360) 778-7973.

Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)

Drivers can get real-time traffic information on their phone with the  WSDOT traffic app, tracking the WSDOT north Twitter feed, and get advanced information from the WSDOT construction page.

Whatcom County

For updates on County projects near Bellingham, visit the Whatcom County Public Works website. There is an option to subscribe for more information.

We provide this report as a public service based on currently available information. When traveling through a construction area – whether walking, cycling or driving – please be patient, travel with care and obey flaggers. In dark conditions, please make sure you’re visible to others. Planned road closures and restrictions are necessary to allow for a variety of work including resurfacing, sidewalk construction, water and sewer main work, and utility cuts. Dates, times and work locations may vary, depending on inclement weather or last-minute changes in work schedules. Questions? Email

Media Contact

Paul Reed, Construction Manager
City of Bellingham – Public Works
(360) 778-7700

More City News >>

Subscribe to City News