Birch Bay residents can weigh in on $11.5M walkway-flood protection project

Design work is just getting started on a project along Birch Bay Drive that combines pedestrian safety, beach restoration, and better drainage and flood protection. The public will have a chance to give input on the “Birch Bay Drive and Pedestrian Facility” project at an open house, 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 8.

Whatcom County Public Works staff will make brief presentations, and take questions and comments at the meeting, to be held at the Birch Bay Bible Community Church, 4460 Bay Road at Blaine Road.

A main feature of the project is a raised berm between the road and the shoreline that would protect Birch Bay Drive from flooding and serve as a walkway. The berm would be built between Lora Lane and Cedar Avenue.

Properties along the road are vulnerable to storm surges. A strong low-pressure center coincided with high tide in December 2012, flooding the road and damaging Via Birch Bay Cafe and Bistro.

The county hired Environmental Science Associates earlier this year to work on project design. The firm was hired after negotiations broke down between the county and the previous design consultant, Everett-based Reid Middleton. Environmental Science will present with county staff at Saturday’s open house.

The $11.5 million project is on schedule to start in 2016. For more information, go to whatcomcounty.us/search/search.jsp and enter “Birch Bay pedestrian” in the search box.