Construction of two planned roundabouts on Peace Portal Drive and D Street will impact surrounding businesses but to what degree depends on which construction plan Blaine City Council approves.
That was the topic of discussion in a series of three meetings last Friday in which business owners met with officials from the state department of transportation and the city of Blaine.
Three options were presented during the meeting. Option A would keep all roads open with controlled traffic and flaggers for 115 working days.
Option B would close all surrounding roads including both north and southbound freeway ramps for 30 working days.
Option C would close D Street under the overpass and keep freeway on and offramps open for 50 working days. Several business owners such as Al Holub, owner of Big Al’s Diner on D Street, however, said they preferred Option B, which would close everything for 30 working days.
“The fastest way possible is the best option for me,” he said. “It’s going to have a deep effect no matter how we do it. There’s no good option for us but apparently, it must be done. Even the locals, most of them are on the other side of that freeway and that’s going to be blocked off.”
Not everyone agreed, however. During a regular meeting of the Blaine City Council Monday, Blaine business owner Silva Gore said her Seaside Bakery depends heavily on freeway traffic and that more than a third of her customers are Canadians who are just passing through. Gore urged the city to consider option C because it would keep both on and offramps open to allow for freeway traffic to continue through Blaine.
“I feel like option C is the best compromise,” she said. “A freeway closure would be devastating to my business. I’m already struggling to stay alive during these times.”
Blaine public work director Steve Banham, however, said all of those options could be shortened with a noise variance issued by the city. Such a variance would allow crews to work at night and on weekends. Current city noise regulations prevent working evenings and weekends.
Blaine City Council member Jason Overstreet said he liked the idea of issuing a noise variance because the area is zoned business and light industrial and there would be little residential impact with the exception of a few apartments located in the Drayton Harbor building.
Council member Paul Greenough agreed.
“This is a no-brainer,” he said. “We should go with option C.”
Construction is scheduled to begin in April, Banham said.