Marine Drive makeover to begin
Blaine director of public works Steve Banham has told Marine Drive businesses to expect some disruption next summer as the $5 million Marine Drive renovation gets underway. This first phase of the work will rebuild Marine Drive from west of the railroad tracks to the large white tank on the north side of the road just west of Marine Park that was once Blaine’s only sewage and waste water treatment facility.
In a meeting last Thursday evening at the Blaine marina, Banham said the work will start with the installation of a 186 by 37 foot tank under the roadway roughly centered in front of Marina Gate 3. The tank is designed to hold up to 400,000 gallons of overflow that normally would be directed to Blaine’s water treatment plant.
Marine Drive will remain a two-lane road but will have dedicated left turn lanes and a sidewalk along the commercial, or south, side that will go east nearly to the railroad tracks. There will be several dedicated cross walks and all parking will be off Marine Drive.
Access to Marine Drive from the south side will be somewhat more restricted than it is now, Banham said, and after the gravel parking strip along Marine Park and the north side of the road is no longer needed to detour traffic around the road work it will be replaced with a curb and gutter. The road itself will also curve slightly to help slow traffic.
Banham said that the Port of Bellingham, the major landowner on the south side of Marine Drive, is not putting money in this phase of the project but “are helping with design, and we expect them to come on board financially once we’re working on the west end of the spit.” Port of Bellingham planning and development director Sylvia Goodwin is currently working on some aspects of the west end of Marine Drive, and there have been some discussions about whether to continue allowing cars onto the public pier.
The first phase of the project will begin this spring and is scheduled for completion by October.