City Road and Projects Report May 3-7

May holidays, new and continuing construction could impact travel

April 30, 2021 - by Amy Cloud, Communications and Outreach

The week to come launches with May Day and sails into Cinco de Mayo, so there will be celebrations to consider as you travel around town. As well, there are a number of street and construction projects that could impact traffic.  Not all are the City of Bellingham’s, but still effect travel, such as construction on Samish Way and along I-5 at Fairhaven Parkway (details below.)  As always, please travel with care.

Padden Creek fish passage – I-5 and State Route 11

Work is underway on a pair of culverts under Interstate 5 and State Route 11 in south Bellingham that have blocked salmon and other fish from traveling upstream. The State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is replacing those culverts. From Monday through Thursday, May 3-6, one lane of both I-5 northbound and southbound will be closed overnight, between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. Additionally, the on-ramp to southbound I-5 will be closed between 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. For more information, check out the WSDOT project report online.  

State and Ellis – bridge replacement (pictured)

The City’s contractor is beginning work on a 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 remain open, with the road now closed to traffic.  The detour reroutes traffic to Ohio Street, Cornwall Avenue, and York Street. (View detour map here.) Northbound Forest Street and Ellis Street will experience some impacts through mid-May as utility crews work to relocate services. Once the contractor begins work, there will be minimal impacts there. Utility crews work hours are 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  

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. Expect additional construction traffic in the area and occasional flaggers present.  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.

2020 TBD projects and 40th Street sidewalk  

The 40th Street sidewalk and 2020 TBD (Transportation Benefit District) projects are complete with minor clean-up and fencing modifications being done as needed. Road users through the area may experience 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.

Concrete repairs – streets and sidewalks

The City’s annual concrete repair for streets and sidewalks throughout Bellingham is underway.  Repair crews will be going all over town to address a list of needed repairs. For more information, contact Interim Street Division Supervisor Jess Herring, (360) 778-7700 or

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. The elevator portion of the work completes on April 30. Effective Saturday, May 1, contractors’ work will be complete, so city staff will be able to finish installation of public-use technology and staff workspaces, and relocation of collections. 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. For ongoing information on projects that could impact your travel, visit

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

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