BELLINGHAM - Work on the railroad tracks will block some entrances to Boulevard Park on Friday, Aug. 15, a BNSF Railway official said.
BNSF originally expected the first stage of its railroad upgrade to wrap up on Wednesday, Aug. 13, but the project fell two days behind due to an Amtrak delay and a mechanical problem, BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas said.
A special train equipped for track construction will block the vehicle entrance and the north trail entrance to the park on Friday. The park will remain open, with access via the pedestrian overpass from South State Street and Taylor Dock. All entrances to the park should be open this weekend.
A second train with construction equipment will block entrances to the park for one day some time over the next week and a half, Melonas said. The schedule can change quickly.
BNSF keeps emergency responders updated daily on blocked crossings, Melonas said.
"We realize there are going to be public concerns with this process," he said. "If they can (be patient) with us, this will enhance future passenger reliability."
Contrary to speculation on social media and in readers' questions to The Bellingham Herald, the work on the rail line is not in preparation for the proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point. BNSF is not building a railroad siding, which has been discussed as a way to handle up to 18 trains per day going to and from the Gateway Pacific Terminal.
The railroad company is upgrading its tracks to the Canadian border. All of the work should be completed by Sept. 30, Melonas said.