BELLINGHAM - The City Council has approved Ram Construction Co.'s $1.14 million bid for construction of a roundabout at the snarl of asphalt where State, Forest and Wharf streets link up with the Boulevard.
Bellingham-based Ram was the lowest of six bidders on the job.
Public Works Director Ted Carlson told the council's public works committee that the roundabout should make the spot less challenging for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists.
"It's a very complex intersection that doesn't function very well in a lot of ways," he said.
As of now, there are no crosswalks to accommodate pedestrians on State or Forest streets who are trying to work their way down to the South Bay Trail that crosses Wharf Street just past the intersection, he said. The roundabout will include crosswalks.
Carlson said the roundabout itself should slow traffic enough to enable bicyclists to go with the flow of traffic through the intersection, although they will have the option to dismount and use the pedestrian paths and crosswalks.
Council member Stan Snapp asked about the long-term future of Wharf Street, which provides access to the south end of Cornwall Avenue and the public waterfront being planned for a new mix of industrial, commercial and residential uses.
Carlson said Wharf Street might have to be closed eventually if the BNSF Railway Co. line that crosses it is relocated closer to the bluff above. But that probably won't happen for many years, and the roundabout still would be useful to get traffic through the area, he said.
MAP OF PLANNED ROUNDABOUT
View Boulevard-Wharf Street roundabout in a larger map