Travelers between Blaine and Semiahmoo may be able to arrive a little faster if the county chooses to move forward on a proposal to increase the speed limit on Lincoln Road.
Whatcom County Public Works is exploring the idea of changing the speed limit from 35 mph to 45 mph on a portion of Lincoln Road in Birch Bay. The department has been working with the Birch Bay Transportation and Public Safety committee and taking comments from the public to determine the feasibility and necessity of the change.
“People are already using it at higher speeds,” engineering technician Ron Vandersypen said, despite the posted 35 mph speed limit. “It’s not on the docket yet,” he added. “It’s just being talked about.”
The stretch of road from Blaine city limits to Harborview was “specifically built” to support speeds of 45 mph, according to Vandersypen, but the county has kept it at 35 mph since construction was completed. The speed limit change would only affect the newly constructed portion of the road.
Vandersypen said that there have been no collisions on the road since construction has been completed.
“It’s a perfectly straight road,” said Doralee Booth, co-chair of the Birch Bay Transportation and Public Safety committee. “People are already passing on it.”
Lincoln Road will eventually connect Harborview Road to Blaine Road, becoming part of the northern transportation arterial for Birch Point and Birch Bay Village, and alleviating traffic concerns on Birch Bay Road.
When this second phase of construction is complete, the road will become a higher speed route alternative from I-5 to Birch Point, according to Booth.
“Rodney [Vandersypen] called me a month ago and asked me what I thought about [the speed limit change] and I said ‘thumbs up as far as I’m concerned,’” Booth said.
“[Eventually] it will take traffic off Birch Bay Road, which is far more recreational.”
Vandersypen thinks the change will be good. “People won’t notice anything other than the speed limit sign,” he said.
Once Whatcom County Public Works determines the validity of the speed increase, staff will present their recommendations to Whatcom County Council. Only the council can make the official change.
“It’s nice that Whatcom County is really communicating with the community about the changes being made,” Booth said.
“We really appreciate having a voice.”