City Road and Projects Report for March 8–12

Segment of the Squalicum Creek Trail temporarily closed where it passes under I-5.

Submitted by the City of Bellingham, written by Amy Cloud

Rain is forecast for the weekend, but once that clears it should be a week of generally pleasant late winter weather.  As more people venture out it’s important to remember there are a number of projects underway which could affect traffic.  As always, please keep in mind Health Department recommendations when you’re out, and travel with care.

Orchard Street 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 and will convert the James Street intersection to a stop light. Expect construction traffic increasing and occasional flaggers present. 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 Craig Mueller, P.E., project engineer, at or (360) 778-7922.

2020 Watermain Replacement Project 

The 2020 Watermain Replacement project, as the name suggests, replaces a watermain on Donovan Avenue from Connelly Creek to 36th Street, and on 35th Street from Donovan one block north. All watermain has been installed and connected. Due to COVID-19 and related material procurement delays, final paving cannot be done until this spring when material is available, along with replacement of a storm main west of 30th Street. Drivers should expect flaggers. Work west of 30this beginning and final paving will follow. Traffic will be maintained for local access. Bus service is being coordinated for impacts between 30th and 32nd streets. For more information, visit the 2020 Watermain Replacement Project website or call Craig Mueller, P.E., project engineer, at or (360) 778-7922.

Lake Padden Park – Sewer Project

Work to upgrade the sewer facilities and pump stations is nearing completion, as the remaining components are installed. The areas affected include the dog park restroom, playground restroom and the pump house. Moving into the final phase of this project, restrooms will be intermittently offline in the coming weeks, but portable bathrooms will be in place when needed. Please use caution in the work zones. For more information, visit the Lake Padden Lift Stations project webpage or contact Larry Scholten, P.E., project engineer, at or (360) 778-7923.

2020 TBD Projects and 40th Street Sidewalk 

The 40th Street sidewalk and 2020 TBD projects are largely complete with the final project at 40th Street and Elwood underway. 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.

Meridian Street Water Quality Improvements 

As part of a water quality project on Meridian Street (State Route 539) between Bakerview Road and Stuart Road and on Kellogg Road we have installed 17 water quality devices to treat roadway runoff. Work is largely complete, with only weather-dependent elements such as final paving to be completed this spring. For more information, visit the Meridian Street Water Quality Improvements website or contact Larry Scholten, P.E., project engineer, at or (360) 778-7923. 

West Horton Project

The West Horton Road project is wrapping up with landscaping and site clean-up activities underway. Final striping is on hold until warmer, drier weather arrives. The roadway is now open with a temporary handrail and 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.

2020-2021 Downtown Public Library Renovations

Interior renovation of the downtown library is nearly done, with substantial completion expected by the end of this month. The focus this week is in electrical and fire alarm work; construction cleaning begins shortly. The public elevator remains out of service as the upgrades are taking place. This work is anticipated to be fully complete in mid-March. The library remains closed to the public due to COVID-19, however distribution of books continues with curbside pickup. For more information contact Carol Rofkar, Interim Superintendent of Communications/Facilities/Fleet/Traffic, at or (360) 778-7973.

Other Projects

Drivers may notice several deconstruction projects along Samish Way. If flaggers are present, be prepared to slow down or stop.

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 current local projects, check out

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

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