Gardner gets Boblett traffic signal

Published on Thu, Oct 25, 2001 by Meg Olson

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Gardner gets Boblett traffic signal

By Meg Olson

Blaine senator Georgia Gardner came to Blaine city council Monday night with some long-awaited good news. The Boblett Street truck route intersection is getting a traffic light.

“I’m very pleased,” Gardner told council members at their October 22 meeting. “We’ve had many accidents there and we don’t want any more.”
Gardner recently met with state transportation secretary Doug MacDonald in Blaine and gave him a tour of the intersection and its history of accidents. “I drove him all around, showed him the schools and when he left, I felt very strongly he was committed to making it work,” she said.

Apparently, Gardner was right. At an October 22 meeting engineers and planners from the state department of transportation’s Mount Baker region agreed to unbundle the stop-light project from the larger re-construction of the truck route, which is now on hold waiting for the state to allocate funding.

“We do have partial funding for construction, and that will pay for the signal,” said area manager Todd Harrison.

Harrison said they would now start working on getting the minimum permits they need to put up the light without addressing all the issues the larger project would require such as wetland mitigation. “We’ve been going forward with permits for this as a whole and breaking the signal out presents some challenges,” Harrison said. “The challenge is to get the signal permitted with the understanding we will continue with the whole project later.”

Gardner said she recognizes that breaking the truck route reconstruction into pieces will require additional work but that immediate action was the top priority. “They want to go through all these processes and I thought speed was the issue and we needed to get it going,” she said. “We need to do something now. We don’t have the luxury of risking lives to wait for a process. We’re going to have to do some permitting but I don’t think its onerous.”

Construction on the new stoplight, slated to start in the spring, will be accompanied by the addition of a new left turn lane. Gardner said she will push for completion of the project before the 2002 school year gets underway. .

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