BELLINGHAM - Commuters drive to work as if on auto-pilot sometimes, taking the same route day after day.
Those who use James Street Road between north Bellingham and downtown have needed to stop and think - and sometimes turn around - ever since a section of the road was closed for construction earlier this month.
The road is closed from Orchard Drive to Sunset Pond Park for six months, so crews can replace two small, unsafe bridges with one 85-foot span over what will become a new channel for Squalicum Creek. The project is intended to improve driver safety and salmon habitat, and reduce flooding.
City project manager Craig Mueller said the phone calls he has taken weren't from people who didn't know the road was closed. However, residents of nearby Orchard Estates have called to complain that drivers were turning around in their subdivision.
The city would like to remind people that there's no way to get around the construction by going through Orchard Estates.
"Local traffic only," Mueller said.
Detours posted on James Street Road direct drivers coming from the north to take Bakerview Road east to Hannegan Road, then south to Sunset Drive. Alternately, take Telegraph Road west to Meridian Street, then south toward downtown. Those detours work in reverse coming from the south.
The $2.5 million project has not had any setbacks since beginning two weeks ago, Mueller said. Sunset Pond Park and local businesses remain open.
For more information, go to cob.org and enter "James Street bridge" in the search box.
MAP: NEW BRIDGE ON JAMES STREET ROAD