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Alabama Street drivers look up: Is that a HAWK?

New crosswalk signals called HAWKS wait to be turned on along Alabama Street Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015 in Bellingham.
New crosswalk signals called HAWKS wait to be turned on along Alabama Street Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015 in Bellingham. The Bellingham Herald

The city continues to broaden its traffic repertoire.

First came this summer’s green bike boxes and “sharrows.” Now pedestrians and drivers on Alabama Street in Bellingham will get to know the HAWKS.

The six “High-intensity Activated crossWalK” signals installed along Alabama the week ending Friday, Oct. 9, will probably be called something more ordinary, like red-light crosswalks. When a pedestrian waiting to cross pushes a button, traffic lights over Alabama flash yellow, turn solid yellow, and then go red to halt vehicles, enabling pedestrians to cross safely.

The signaled crosswalks are scheduled to be turned on Nov. 9. Before then, The Bellingham Herald will give more details on how to navigate the new crosswalks.

The signals are part of the $3.4 million Alabama Street reconstruction that started in May. The work from Cornwall Avenue to St. Clair Street includes reducing the number of lanes in places, new sidewalks, center-line curbs, and fresh pavement. The speed limit on Alabama is being reduced to 30 mph from 35 mph.

Traffic slowdowns will continue until most of the remaining work is completed on Oct. 23 — “but we will need the weather to cooperate,” said Kate Flowers, project manager with the contractor, Award Construction Inc. of Ferndale.

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