Submitted by the City of Bellingham, written by Amy Cloud

As March rolls into April, some things are rolling out. Studded tires need to come off, the snow tire removal deadline is here. Also coming up quickly, the City’s annual watermain flushing project, which will take six to seven weeks to complete. And a new project, the State and Ellis bridge removal, will begin with a temporary water shut-off at the beginning of the week. Always keep in mind Health Department recommendations when you’re out and about and please travel with care.

NEW: State and Ellis – Bridge Replacement 

Roadway over wood-support bridge at State and Ellis streets

Work begins shortly on a City project to replace an 80-year-old wood-supported bridge on one of the major traffic routes through Bellingham. First steps are to add a watermain valve on Tuesday, Mrch 30, and then to relocate the utilities. 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 will remain open, though drivers can expect some intermittent road and lane closures. Beginning in May, the road will be closed to traffic and a detour will reroute traffic to Ohio Street, Cornwall Avenue, and York Street. (View detour map here.) Northbound Forest Street and Ellis Street will be maintained. Crews will work 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. 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 

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 the project engineer, Craig Mueller, P.E., at camueller@cob.org 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 Ave one block north. Minor restoration activities will be done over the coming weeks to finalize the project. Drivers should expect flaggers periodically. 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 camueller@cob.org or (360) 778-7922.

Lake Padden Park – Sewer Project

Work to upgrade the sewer facilities and pump stations is nearing completion, as the cleanup work remains. Please use caution in the work areas For more information, visit the Lake Padden Lift Stations project webpage or contact Larry Scholten, P.E., project engineer, at ljscholten@cob.org or (360) 778-7923.

2020 TBD Projects and 40th Street Sidewalk 

The 40th Street sidewalk and 2020 TBD (Transportation Benefit District) project are largely complete with mitigation work at 40th Street and Elwood underway. Striping work remains to be done; however, the timing is weather-dependent. 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 fanthony@cob.org or (360) 778-7924. 

West Horton Project

The West Horton Road project is wrapping up with landscaping and site clean-up activities underway. Final striping is nearly complete. 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 fanthony@cob.org or (360) 778-7924.

2020-2021 Downtown Public Library Renovations

Interior renovation of the downtown library is nearly done, with substantial completion of construction expected by the end of the month. The focus this week is in electrical and fire alarm work; construction cleaning begins shortly. The elevator remains out of service as the upgrades are taking place. The elevator work should be fully complete shortly. The library remains closed to the public while staff relocate collections and reinstall staff and public-use technology. However, distribution of books continues with curbside pickup. For more information contact Carol Rofkar, superintendent of Communications/Facilities/Fleet/Traffic, at cmrofkar@cob.org 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 current local projects, check out https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/travel/construction-updates/whatcom-skagit-island

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 AskPW@cob.org.

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