Major construction and city street projects August 23-27

Summer construction and street projects continue, some traffic impacts

August 20, 2021 - by Riley Grant, Public Works

Work continues on the Orchard Drive connector, which will be named Birchwood Avenue when complete. Drivers will start to see flaggers over the next few weeks at James Street and Orchard Drive while preparations are made for the installation of a stoplight. Expect to see some impacts to travel from this and other projects around town, including some projects that are not the City’s – 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.

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. For more information, visit the project webpage or contact Street Division Supervisor Brandon Brubaker, at bsbrubaker@cob.or or (360) 778-7726.

West Cemetery Creek Water Quality Improvements

Work begins this week on the West Cemetery Creek Water Quality Improvement project. This 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 webpage or contact Freeman Anthony P.E. at fanthony@cob.org 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 arsmathers@cob.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, 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 arsmathers@cob.org 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 stoplight. For the next several weeks, expect flaggers on James Street at Orchard Drive while new curb and gutter and paving is done in the intersection in preparation for installation of a stoplight. 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 camueller@cob.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 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 Street Division Supervisor Brandon Brubaker, at bsbrubaker@cob.or or (360) 778-7726.

Crack sealing

The City’s summer crack has been completed. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this process. 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 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/travel/construction-updates/weekly-travel-planner.

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 AskPW@cob.org.


Media Contact

Paul Reed, Construction Manager
City of Bellingham – Public Works
(360) 778-7700
preed@cob.org


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