In the wake of historic flooding, most Bellingham streets are back in service; however, some bridges remain closed for damage inspection and assessment. Drivers should continue to avoid driving through running or standing water, remain aware of pedestrians and cyclists who may be difficult to see, and expect more traffic with the Thanksgiving holiday. Several ongoing street and construction projects may impact traffic, including the State’s Padden Creek fish passage project at I-5 and Fairhaven Parkway, on 30th Street adjacent to I-5. As always, extreme weather could affect traffic conditions. It continues to be important to travel with care.
City Operations Center – Pacific and Carolina streets
At the site of the City’s new administrative services center, the first vertical segment of concrete for the elevator shaft and the stairwells have been poured and the forms stripped. The next level is being formed up and prepared to pour concrete for another vertical segment of the to-be-five-story structure. Over the next phase of construction there may also be occasional increases in truck traffic. For more information, visit the project webpage or contact Chris Jacox, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 778-7700.
West Cemetery Creek water quality improvements
Work is wrapping up on the West Cemetery Creek Water Quality Improvement project to install sediment control-and-capture structures along with stormwater outfall repairs within a portion of the Creek. These improvements will help reduce sediment in the creek and improve its stability. The project includes installation of large woody debris and repair of existing outfalls. Minor work on Old Lakeway is planned for early December and weeding and restoration work near Sweetbay Drive will be complete by the end of November. In 2022, work areas will be along the westbound lanes of Lakeway and Old Lakeway drive. Trail closures are posted and marked, with alternate routes identified. For more information visit the West Cemetery Creek Water Quality Improvements or West Cemetery project webpage or contact Freeman Anthony P.E. at email@example.com or (360) 778-7924.
Stormwater facility rebuild – Park Place
The stormwater facility at 123 Park Place, east of Britton Road and North Shore Drive, is being rebuilt to remove phosphorus from stormwater heading into Lake Whatcom. Stormwater will be treated with Phosphorus Optimized Stormwater Treatment system (POST) material, or media, which is a soil mixed with other components to facilitate the removal of the phosphorus from the stormwater before it is released into the lake. The POST system is a new stormwater treatment system, and this will be the first full-size system installed with the POST media for stormwater treatment. During the project, travelers can expect increased construction traffic during construction and intermittent lane closures on North Shore Drive and adjacent to the road. Crews work 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday (and some Fridays), currently they are preparing the site for installation of the POST media. A seasonal exemption has been approved, so that work can be completed this month. For more information, please contact Aric Smathers, P.E. project engineer, at (360) 778-7942 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Park Place Water Quality Facility Reconstruction project webpage.
State and Ellis – bridge replacement
A project to replace an 80-year-old wood-supported bridge on one of the major traffic routes through Bellingham continues. The project 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 single lane closures throughout the project’s duration. Crews are intermittently pile-driving and have completed demolition of the existing bridge. The in-water work is complete and crews will return to normal work hours, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, please contact Aric Smathers, P.E. project engineer, at (360) 778-7942 or email@example.com 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 and 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. The Squalicum Creek Trail is again open to the public. The opening of the new street will occur once street lighting and signal poles are available and installed, likely in December. For more information, visit the Orchard Drive Extension webpage or contact the project engineer, Craig Mueller, P.E., at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 778-7922.
WSDOT Padden Creek fish passage – I-5 and State Route 11
Traffic impacts continue while work is underway on a pair of culverts under Interstate 5 and State Route 11 (Fairhaven Parkway) that have blocked salmon and other fish from traveling upstream. The State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is replacing those culverts. The I-5 on-ramp may be affected at times. For more information, check out the WSDOT project report online or sign up to receive updates via WSDOT’s personalized information delivery.
Asphalt and concrete repairs – streets and sidewalks
The annual asphalt and concrete repair for streets and sidewalks throughout Bellingham continues, likely through the end of the month. Repair crews are working all over town to address a list of needed repairs. For more information, contact Street Division Supervisor Brandon Brubaker, at email@example.com or (360) 778-7726.
Sanitary sewer rehab – Whatcom Creek
The Whatcom Creek trunk main sanitary sewer rehabilitation project is expected to begin soon. Over the next few weeks, the contractor plans to deliver equipment and materials and set up sewer bypass for the project’s first phase – north and east of the Meador Avenue crossing. The project limits start near the auto dealership at the intersection of Nevada Street and Whatcom Creek, and continue west along Whatcom Creek trail, around another car dealership, through the Bellingham School District bus property, and should continue south on Humboldt Street, west on Fraser Street, through the Bellingham Housing Authority, south on Franklin Street, across Ellis Street and along York Street ending just west of State Street. For more information and a site map visit the Whatcom Creek Trunk Main website or contact Larry Scholten, P.E., project engineer, at LJScholten@cob.org or (360) 778-7923.
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 https://wsdot.wa.gov/construction-planning/search-projects.
For updates on County projects near Bellingham, visit the Whatcom County Public Works website. There is an option to subscribe for regular updates.
This report is provided 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. For more information, email AskPW@cob.org.