New bridge being erected on trail over Whatcom Creek

A new pedestrian bridge is going up over Whatcom Creek between York and Ellis streets, nearly two years after a fire heavily damaged the old one.

Lynden-based Faber Construction is doing the work to replace the span on the north Railroad Avenue Trail.

The project costs $338,481, excluding the cost of design and environmental permitting.

Bellingham Parks and Recreation Department is overseeing the project. The 38,000-pound bridge, found at the north end of Railroad Avenue near Banner Bank, is set to open no later than Sept. 23, possibly sooner depending on weather.

The old bridge, which was wooden with a concrete surface for walking, was damaged by a fire Nov. 23, 2012. Once part of a railway crossing running north from York to Ohio streets, the old span had a lot of rot in it.

Crews working on the project also removed more than 50 creosote pilings, according to parks department Project Engineer Gina Austin. The old bridge had been treated with creosote.

The new bridge was made by Big R Bridge out of Colorado and shipped in two pieces to Bellingham, where Faber crews bolted them together.

It is 110 feet long and 10 feet wide. It is steel with a walking surface made up of fiberglass slats, which will allow water to flow through it.

Walkers, runners and bicyclists will be happy to have the new bridge open, according to Austin.

“It’s a heavily used through connection and transportation connection. This is the off-street connector across Whatcom Creek,” she said.

Since the closure, people haven’t been able to go through and have had to go around the big triangle made up of Cornwall Avenue as well as Ohio and Ellis streets.

Money for the project came from greenways and Transportation Benefit District funding.