Following a public hearing Tuesday night, Whatcom County Councouncil members voted to decrease the speed limit near the Portal Way/Birch Bay-Lynden Road intersection. There was no input from the public.
Council members voted 6-0, with council member Bill Knutzen absent, to lower the speed limit to 35 from 50. The new speed limit will begin 1,000 feet from the intersection of Birch Bay-Lynden Road and Portal Way. The intersection is immediately west of Birch Bay Square.
The public works division is also pursuing funding to reconfigure the intersection. The project would include a traffic light, dedicated left and right turn lanes, a crosswalk on the south side of Portal Way and improved integration with the nearby railroad crossing.
So far, staff has secured $2.1 million in federal and state funds, but they are still waiting on another request for $1.95 million from the state. A decision on that request will come later in the summer. If approved, the construction is expected to start next summer.