Low bid reduces cost to fix Bellingham’s Chestnut-Bay Bridge

The city received a favorable bid for this summer’s work to upgrade the Chestnut-Bay Bridge, reducing the anticipated cost by more than a half million dollars.

The city Public Works director on Monday morning, March 23, told City Council that the lowest bid for the bridge improvements was $1.58 million from Strider Construction of Bellingham. The city estimate of construction costs was $2.45 million.

City project manager Steve Day and the state Department of Transportation reviewed Strider’s bid to make sure everything was in order, said Public Works Director Ted Carlson.

“We feel very good about it,” he said.

The council was expected to accept Strider’s bid Monday night.

Work is expected to begin in early May to improve the deck of the Chestnut-Bay Bridge, which was built in 1928. The L-shaped bridge does not include Chestnut Street northwest of Bay Street, toward Roeder Avenue. That structure was built more recently.

The city will close the bridge at Chestnut and Bay for up to six months, likely beginning in June, Carlson said.

The city’s six-month target for reopening the bridge should be easier to hit than the reopening of James Street Road north of Sunset Square. Bridge construction between Sunset Pond Park and Orchard Drive took two months longer than the schedule the city had announced, due largely to bad weather in November.

But the contractor for that job, RAM Construction, had 180 working days to finish. Strider would get 120 days to complete the Chestnut-Bay Bridge, Public Works officials said.

Work on the Chestnut-Bay Bridge, which passes over BNSF Railway tracks along the waterfront, would strengthen the bridge so oversized loads could use it. During the closure, vehicles will be detoured along F Street, Holly Street and Commercial Avenue.

Project updates are on the city website. Go to cob.org and enter “Chestnut Bay Bridge” in the search box.