This north Whatcom community will be a hub of activity in the coming weeks as more intense work begins on one of its biggest construction projects.
Up to 40 trucks an hour will be taking gravel to West Main Street over the next few weeks in preparation for a 331,568-square-foot cold storage facility being built for Preferred Freezer Services. The company has put this project, announced last week, on a fast track to have it ready by September, in time for the final harvests of the year.
The trucks will haul in about 10,000 to 15,000 tons of gravel per day. Altogether about 200,000 tons of gravel will be brought to the site, which is near Lynden Door, said Lane Stremler, president of Stremler Gravel.
It’s the largest project Stremler has done in Whatcom County. The company has hired more people to handle the job and has subcontracted some of the work to Ferndale Ready Mix and Concrete Nor’West.
Work to create access roads has already begun, but the plan is to start the big hauling on Monday, March 30, operating from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day except Sunday for the next three or four weeks.
Stremler is working on ways to lessen the impact of this traffic congestion on the community. This includes taking gravel from three different sites so not all the trucks are on the same route. The trucks also will take routes that have traffic signals, avoiding when possible routes where a truck has to pull out into traffic. Flaggers will be used if needed.
“We want to keep things as safe as possible,” Stremler said.
For commuters who aren’t going to businesses or homes on Main Street on the west side of Guide Meridian, he suggests using alternate routes like Birch Bay-Lynden Road or Badger Road to get around town.
Once the gravel hauling is complete, Stremler said there will still be a steady amount of construction material arriving at the site, but nearby roads are not expected to be as congested with trucks. Stremler Gravel also will be involved with some of the utility and piping work, while Victory Unlimited Construction of Indianapolis is the general contractor for the overall project.
The $32 million project is expected to be a big deal for the local farming and fishing communities, which rely on cold storage to quickly freeze their food to maintain quality and freshness. Along with about 292,000 square feet of freezer space, the building will have temperature-controlled loading docks.