County to vote on Lincoln Road widening this Tuesday

Published on Thu, May 6, 2010 by By Tara Nelson

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Those wanting to have a say about a possible $3.9 million Lincoln Road improvement project will want to attend a May 11 meeting of the Whatcom County Council or mail their comments to council members.

The meeting is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 11, and will discuss a possible widening and lengthening of a section of Lincoln Road between Harborview and Shintaffer roads that will include new bike paths and eight-foot shoulders where there currently are none.

The project is part of the Birch Bay Comprehensive Plan’s transportation chapter, a set of guidelines created by the Birch Bay Steering Committee, and has been on the county’s drawing board since the 1990s but has failed to move forward because of budget constraints.

In an email to Birch Bay residents, Birch Bay Steering Committee chair Kathy Berg reminded individuals that the council could still decide against the project and urged them to show their support.

“If you think this is a good and appropriate improvement to transportation for Birch Bay, Birch Point and the entire Semiahmoo area, the council needs to hear from you,” she wrote. “Nothing is certain in this time of economic crunch so your elected officials must be made aware of what you think about this issue.”

Doralee Booth, who chairs the Birch Bay steering committee’s transportation subcommittee, agreed, adding that when the road is fully completed it will provide an important arterial for Birch Point and Semiahmoo residents as they commute to I-5 as well as a safer route for pedestrians.

Booth said the project is currently the number one priority indicated by the community in the plan.

“It’s important for our community that Birch Bay Drive is not a major arterial,” she said. “It is our goal to get commuter traffic off Birch Bay Drive.

“This will also make this area safe for pedestrians and bicycles use and recreational use, all the things that go on in Birch Bay that don’t have anything to do with the vehicle.”

The second and third phases of the project would include improvements from Harborview Road to Blaine Road and then linking Birch Point Road to Horizon Parkway but since the money isn’t available now, Booth said county public works officials are completing it piece by piece.

On Tuesday, April 27 the Whatcom County Council voted 7-0 to introduce a proposal to accept $2.4 million in state grant funding for the first phase of the Lincoln Road project.

It also voted on a proposal to move $1.5 million from the county road fund into the new account, totaling $3.9 million for the project’s funding. Those proposals, however, still need final approval. The council will consider approving it during their regular meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 11.

Individuals can also send written comments to the Whatcom County Council at 311 Grand Avenue, Suite 105, Bellingham, Washington, 98225. For more information or to view this week's agenda online, click here.