Whatcom crews to post new stop signs on Northwest Drive, Airport Drive

Drivers will see red on Monday, Oct. 6, after the installation of stop signs at two intersections on Whatcom County roads.

Make that flashing red at one location, Northwest Drive and Slater Road. A crew will install the county’s first stop signs with flashing lights, in both directions of Northwest at Slater on Monday — weather permitting.

Commuters on Northwest might be in the habit of breezing past Slater at the posted speed limit of 45 mph. County officials acknowledged that force of habit might cause drivers to miss the new signs, so they will add some attention-getters.

First, drivers will see a “Traffic Revision Ahead” sign, with orange flags on it. Then come rumble strips and a “Stop Sign Ahead” sign, also with flags.

Finally, the stop signs themselves will have eight red, solar-powered LED lights, flashing continuously.

“This’ll be the first ones in the county, and I don’t know of any in the city, either,” said Rodney Vandersypen, a county engineering technician, regarding the LED stop signs.

“We’re kind of going all out on this one because of the high volume and the high speed,” he said.

County officials decided to put stop signs at Northwest and Slater because too many collisions were happening at that intersection, Vandersypen said.

Also next week, crews will convert three intersections on Slater into mini-roundabouts to improve traffic flow at both on- and off-ramps at Interstate 5, and Pacific Highway. The compact roundabouts can be built into the existing intersection at much less cost than a standard roundabout, which takes up adjacent properties, county engineer Joe Rutan has said.

The other stop signs to go up on Monday, on both directions of Airport Drive at Airport Way, are meant to help people leaving Bellingham International Airport make a left turn onto Airport Drive, Rutan said.