BELLINGHAM - A section of James Street Road, a major commuter route from north Bellingham to downtown, will be closed for six months starting Tuesday, July 8.
The closure is from Orchard Drive to Sunset Pond Park. Drivers still will be able to get to the park and the businesses across the road.
Commuters are asked to plan their alternate route now. Detours via Telegraph and Bakerview roads will be posted.
More than 11,000 trips are taken on that stretch of James Street Road per day.
"The last thing we want are morning commuters caught by surprise," city project engineer Craig Mueller said.
City officials opted for full closure of James Street Road so the contractor, RAM Construction of Bellingham, could work within a smaller footprint and affect fewer wetlands. The project also would have been more expensive if the road were to remain open, officials said. RAM's construction contract is for $2.5 million.
Crews will replace two small, unsafe bridges with one 85-foot span over what will become a new channel for Squalicum Creek. Workers will widen James Street Road and add bicycle lanes and sidewalks. The project also includes improvements to the Sunset Pond parking lot.
Squalicum Creek is scheduled to be rerouted in 2015 to the north of its present course so it no longer runs through Sunset Pond. The move should improve salmon habitat and prevent flooding of James Street Road, officials said.
For more information, go to cob.org and enter "James Street bridge" in the search box.
MAP: NEW BRIDGE ON JAMES STREET ROAD
View James Street Road bridge in Bellingham in a larger map