Plenty of road construction projects kept crews busy in town this year, but 2018 could be even busier.
The Public Works Department is currently in the design phase for a slew of road projects, including in north Bellingham, on Lakeway Drive, Barkley Boulevard, Roeder Avenue and in the Roosevelt neighborhood. The city is also continuing work started earlier this year that will carry over into 2018, including the West Maplewood Avenue and the new Granary Avenue and Laurel Street roads on the waterfront.
Normally the road construction season in Bellingham gets going in June, but in 2018 projects could fill the entire calendar year, said Chris Comeau, transportation planner for the city. The good news for drivers is that a few of the projects are creating new roads that shouldn’t have much impact on traffic. The bad news is some of the projects are on major thoroughfares which will prompt drivers to look for alternative routes.
While some of the work will create some short-term inconveniences, Comeau said the projects will solve a variety of traffic issues when completed.
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Here’s an update on some of the current projects as well as some of the big projects expected to get started in 2018. A detailed list of the ongoing and upcoming road projects can be found on the city’s website in its Transportation Improvement Program document.
▪ James Street at Woodstock Way: Much of the project is complete, with work on the south leg of James Street expected to finish up by the end of the year. This project is setting the stage for the Orchard Drive extension, which is slated for 2019 or 2020. That extension will go under Interstate 5, linking the King Mountain neighborhood with the Cornwall neighborhood and the hospital.
▪ West Maplewood Avenue: Work to improve sidewalks, bike lanes, street surfaces and drainage is expected to be done by next spring.
▪ Granary Avenue and Laurel Street: Part of Granary Avenue to the Granary Building is expected to be completed in February; the entire project is expected to be completed next fall.
▪ Mahogany Avenue (behind the Bakerview Costco building): Contract expected to be awarded later this month, with construction starting around March. The road will connect Pacific Highway and Northwest Drive and create another way to get into the Costco parking area.
▪ Street resurfacing will take place on several roads, including on Roeder Avenue from Squalicum Parkway to C Street as well as Texas and Roosevelt streets.
▪ Other road improvements: The city has a variety of work planned, including curb extensions, adding/improving bike lanes and adding or upgrading pedestrian signals this summer. Some of those improvements will take place on Lakeway Drive; Barkley Boulevard from Newmarket Street up to Britton Road; Orleans Street and the Woburn Street/Kentucky Street connection.
▪ Cordata safe route to school: A variety of improvements will be made near Cordata Elementary School on Aldrich Road. That includes bike lanes, sidewalks, curbs, gutters and street lights. It is currently in the design stage.