Lynden's road projects come at height of fair and festival season

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJuly 18, 2013 

BADGER ROUNDABT

TTCC flagger Rudy Hernandez directs traffic through two roundabouts under construction on Badger Road north of Lynden, Thursday, July 18, 2013. The roundabouts should be completed before the Northwest Washington Fair opens August 12.

PHILIP A. DWYER — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Buy Photo

LYNDEN - It's road-construction season, and nowhere is that more apparent than in Lynden.

Good weather has made for good progress on the construction of two roundabouts on Badger Road, the city's northern boundary. The project is on schedule, and Badger Road will be wide open for the Northwest Washington Fair that starts on Aug. 12, state Department of Transportation spokesman Dave Chesson said.

"That's good news for the city and for everyone," Lynden Mayor Scott Korthuis said.

Fair-goers who find themselves on Main Street, however, will need to detour around the closure of that road between Sixth and Eighth streets, near Lynden Middle School. Main Street won't reopen until January 2014. Crews are replacing a culvert and a bridge at Fishtrap Creek.

Traffic has been limited to one lane on the $5.6 million double-roundabout project since July 1, with eastbound and westbound traffic on Badger Road having to take turns driving through.

The lane restriction on Badger and the Main Street closure will both be in effect this weekend, during the Northwest Raspberry Festival.

"It's going to be interesting on Saturday, getting people through town," Korthuis said.

The mayor said he would have preferred starting the Main Street work after the fair, but that wasn't an option. Work that disturbs streams must fit within a construction "fish window" - dates when the work won't harm salmon.

Lynden residents are settling into a routine of detours and short delays, Korthuis said. The wait on Badger Road is about five minutes, and no one has complained to DOT, Chesson said.

"We're in reasonably good shape at this time considering the work that needs to be done," Korthuis said.

Crews on Badger Road have been building the southern half of the Depot Road roundabout at the same time as the northern half of the roundabout on Bender Road. On Tuesday, July 23, the project will flip: Work on the northern half of the Depot Road roundabout will begin, as will construction of the southern half of the Bender roundabout.

Badger still will be reduced to one lane, with a pilot car leading traffic through the work area. The road should reopen fully on Aug. 5, Chesson said.

Building two roundabouts about a half-mile apart isn't a standard practice, Chesson said. The need for the work happened to coincide with the availability of funds.

"It appears that that's worked really well," Chesson said.

Reach Ralph Schwartz at 360-715-2289 or ralph.schwartz@bellinghamherald.com. Read his Politics blog at blogs.bellinghamherald.com/politics or follow him on Twitter at @bhamheraldpolitics.

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