Major construction and city street projects Aug. 16-20

Construction begins on new City Operations Center, street projects, likely traffic impacts

August 13, 2021 - by Amy Cloud, Communications and Outreach

The Northwest Washington Fair is underway in Lynden, which typically means more traffic. Meanwhile, work has begun on a two-year project to construct a new five-story, integrated City of Bellingham Operations Center.  There could be impacts for traffic on Pacific and Carolina street, as pile-driving begins.  It is a typically busy summer for maintenance and construction on city streets.  Not all projects are the City’s but may affect travel through town – such as projects bordering Samish Way, along I-5 at Fairhaven Parkway and the I-5 exits at Bakerview.  In this busy time, please travel with care.

NEW: City Operations Center – Pacific and Carolina streets

At the site of the City’s new Operations Center, pile-driving begins this coming week. For three days, beginning Wednesday, nearby residents will hear that work, as crews drive piles 80’ down to bedrock to ensure the new building’s foundation is seismic-proof. UPDATE: the pile-driving has been postponed. It is unlikely to occur before the week of August 23. For more information, visit the project webpage or contact Senior Construction Inspector Brandon Brubaker, via bsbrubaker@cob.or or (360) 778-7700.

NEW: West Cemetery Creek Water Quality Improvements

The West Cemetery Creek Water Quality Improvement project will 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; construction staging will be west of the Sweetbay Drive and Wildflower Way intersections. Other areas of work will be along the westbound lanes of Lakeway and Old Lakeway drive. Trail closures will be posted and marked, with alternate routes identified. For more information visit the West Cemetery Creek Water Quality Improvements or West Cemetery project webpages or contact Freeman Anthony P.E. at or (360) 778-7924.

Stormwater facility rebuild – Park Place

The stormwater facility located 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 (aka 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 will work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday (and some Fridays.)  Crews are currently preparing the site for installation of the POST media.  For more information, please contact Aric Smathers, P.E. project engineer, at (360) 778-7942 or 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, which could 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 single lane closures throughout the project’s duration. Crew work hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Crews are intermittently pile-driving and have begun demolition of the existing bridge. The in-water work has begun and will be completed by September 30. 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.

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 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, continuing through September, lane closures could occur, between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.  The I-5 on-ramp will be affected as well.  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 is in progress. Repair crews are working all over town to address a list of needed repairs. For more information, contact Interim Street Division Supervisor Jess Herring, (360) 778-7700 or

Crack sealing

The City’s summer crack sealing continues, with several trucks at work.  Travelers are advised that this can be a noisy, dusty process as cracks are blown out to ensure a dry surface for the tar to bond onto. Crews are currently on the north end of town and will be working their way through town during the next three weeks.  Travelers can expect delays and will need to follow flagger instruction. For more information, contact the City of Bellingham Street division, at (360) 778-7700.

SOON:  Sanitary sewer rehab – Whatcom Creek

The Whatcom Creek trunk main sanitary sewer rehabilitation project is scheduled to begin soon. 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. The project is expected to begin in the next few weeks. For more information and a site map visit the Whatcom Creek Trunk Main website or contact Larry Scholten, P.E., project engineer, at  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

Whatcom County

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

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. For more information, email

Media Contact

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

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