Work on the Orchard Drive junction, which will be called Birchwood Avenue when completed, will continue. For the next several weeks, drivers will see flags on James Street and Orchard Drive while preparations are made to install traffic lights. Expect some impact when traveling from this and other projects around the city, including some non-city projects – such as Please travel wisely during this busy time.

City Operations Center – Pacific and Carolina Streets

The piling work will begin on the site of the city’s new operations center in the coming week. Starting Wednesday, residents will hear about this work for three days as the crews drive the piles 80 feet into the rock to ensure the foundation of the new building is earthquake-proof. For more information, visit the project website 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 project. This project will install sediment control and trapping structures along with repairs to rainwater drainage in part of the creek. These improvements will help reduce sediment in the creek and improve its stability. The project includes the installation of large wood debris and the repair of existing receiving waters; The construction phase will be located west of the intersections of Sweetbay Drive and Wildflower Way. Other work areas will be along the westbound lanes of Lakeway and Old Lakeway Drive. Road closures are posted and marked, with alternative routes being identified. For more information, visit the West Cemetery Creek Water Quality Improvements or West Cemetery Project website or contact Freeman Anthony PE at fanthony@cob.org or (360) 778-7924.

Reconstruction of the rainwater system – Park Place

The rainwater system at 123 Park Place, east of Britton Road and North Shore Drive, is being rebuilt to remove phosphorus from rainwater flowing into Lake Whatcom. Rainwater is treated with Phosphorus Optimized Rainwater Treatment System (POST) (also known as Media), which is a soil mixed with other components to facilitate the removal of the phosphorus from rainwater before it is discharged into the lake . The POST system is a new rainwater treatment system and this will be the first full-fledged system to be installed with the POST media for rainwater treatment. During the project, travelers can expect increased construction traffic and temporary closures on North Shore Drive and alongside the road during construction. The crews will work Monday through Thursday (and some Fridays) between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. The crews are currently preparing the site for the POST media installation. For more information, please contact Aric Smathers, PE Project Engineer at (360) 778-7942 or arsmathers@cob.org or visit the Park Place Water Quality Facility Reconstruction project website.

State and Ellis Bridge Replacement

A project to replace an 80 year old wooden bridge on one of the main routes through Bellingham is ongoing. The project, which can take up to nine months, will result in a new single span concrete structure over Whatcom Creek. The wooden piles in Whatcom Creek will be removed and the habitat below the bridge will be restored. Shops in the area remain open, the street is now closed to traffic. The diversion diverts traffic to Ohio Street, Cornwall Avenue and York Street. (You can find a detour map here.) There will be some single-lane closures on Northbound Forest Street and Ellis Street throughout the life of the project. The working hours of the crew are from Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The crews occasionally ram piling work and have started demolishing the existing bridge. The work in the water has started and will be completed by September 30th. For more information, please contact Aric Smathers, PE Project Engineer at (360) 778-7942 or arsmathers@cob.org or visit the State and Ellis Bridge Replacement Project website.

Orchard Drive connector – I-5 underpass – shown

The Orchard Drive expansion project will create an artery link between James Street on Orchard Drive under I-5 and connect to the Birchwood Avenue / Squalicum Parkway intersection. Once in place, the new street will provide a direct link from the King Mountain neighborhood to the hospital and will reduce congestion on Ellis Street and the I-5 Meridian and Sunset Drive intersections. The project will include bidirectional bike lanes and lighted walkways on the north side of Orchard, converting James Street intersection into a traffic light. For the next several weeks, expect to see Flaggers on James Street on Orchard Drive as new curbs and gully and paving work are done at the intersection in preparation for the installation of a traffic light. This project will also close a section of the Squalicum Creek Trail where it will pass under I-5 for the duration of the project. For more information, visit the Orchard Drive Extension website or contact Project Engineer Craig Mueller, PE at camueller@cob.org or (360) 778-7922.

WSDOT Padden Creek Fish Pass – I-5 and State Route 11

The traffic disruption continues as work is being done on a pair of culverts under Interstate 5 and State Route 11 south of Bellingham that have prevented salmon and other fish from traveling upriver. The State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) replaces these culverts. From Monday to Thursday through September, lanes may be closed between 8:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. The I-5 driveway is also affected. For more information, please see the WSDOT project report online or sign up for updates on WSDOT’s personalized information delivery.

Asphalt and concrete repairs – roads and sidewalks

Annual asphalt and concrete repairs for roads and sidewalks across Bellingham are ongoing. Repair teams work across town to make a list of the repairs needed. For more information, contact Street Division Supervisor Brandon Brubaker at bsbrubaker@cob.or or (360) 778-7726.

Crack sealing

The city’s summer rift has been completed. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this process. For more information, contact the City of Bellingham Street Department at (360) 778-7700.

The Whatcom Creek main sanitary sewer rehabilitation project is slated to begin shortly. The project boundaries begin near the dealership at the intersection of Nevada Street and Whatcom Creek and continue west on Whatcom Creek Trail, around another dealership, through the Bellingham School District bus yard 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 which ends west of State Street. The project is scheduled to start in the next few weeks. For more information and a sitemap, visit the Whatcom Creek Trunk Main website or contact Larry Scholten, PE, Project Engineer at LJScholten@cob.org or (360) 778-7923.

Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)

Drivers can use the WSDOT traffic app to get real-time traffic information on their phone, follow the WSDOT north twitter feed, and get advanced information from the WSDOT build page. For more information on projects that could affect your trip, please visit https://wsdot.wa.gov/travel/construction-updates/weekly-travel-planner.

For the latest information on county projects near Bellingham, visit the Whatcom County Public Works website. It is possible to subscribe to regular updates.

We are making this report available as a public service based on currently available information. When driving through a construction site – whether on foot, by bike or by car – please be patient, drive carefully and follow the instructions. In the dark, make sure you are visible to others. Planned road closures and restrictions are required to accommodate a wide variety of works including resurfacing, pavement building, water and sewer main works, and utility cuts. Dates, times and work locations may vary depending on bad weather or short-term changes in work schedules. For more information, send an email to AskPW@cob.org.