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Top stories of 2016: Planning for change in north Bellingham

View of Mount Baker overlooking East Bakerview Road and James Street in Bellingham, Nov. 10, 2016.
View of Mount Baker overlooking East Bakerview Road and James Street in Bellingham, Nov. 10, 2016. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

The northern part of the city is undergoing a lot of change, and readers are wondering what that means for traffic.

One of the most read stories online in 2016 is the city’s plans for fixing traffic congestion, particularly in Bakerview, Cordata and King Mountain areas. If the city can secure funding, those areas are slated to have more than $85 million in traffic improvement projects.

It’s part of the transition that is happening in areas once known for its rural county settings of farms, forests and wetlands to accommodate a growing population. The city estimates that in the West Bakerview Road and Cordata areas, the number of proposed and recently built projects total nearly 2,500 housing units and about 1.3 million square feet of commercial and institutional space. Around King Mountain, pending and recent development will add nearly 2,400 residential units and around 4,500 residents.

In response to this, the city is making an effort to improve the east-west road connections. To this point, the main roads have had a north-south flow. One major change that’s also coming is the West Bakerview/Interstate 5 interchange improvements that’s scheduled to be done in 2020.

Around King Mountain, there are plans to upgrade the rural former county roads into standard urban roads. One of the bigger projects is connecting Orchard Drive by going under I-5.

Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269, @BhamHeraldBiz

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