MarineDrive scheduled to be completed by April

Published on Thu, Mar 8, 2007 by ara Nelson

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Marine Drive scheduled to be completed by April

By Tara Nelson

After a number of weather-related delays, the city of Blaine is back on track for finishing the first phase of improvements for Marine Drive as part of a joint master plan with the Port of Bellingham.

By April, Blaine residents can expect the repaving of a section of road stretching from the harbormaster building to just past the former water treatment tank, as well as the completion of pedestrian walkways on the north side of the street and the extension of the sidewalk on the street’s south side, public works director Steve Banham said.

Banham added that the current pits on the side of the road will be converted into rain gardens, and crews will install additional gravel parking spaces near Marine Park.

“We’re trying to get an estimate to remove that old tank as well,” he said.

With the completion of the sewer piping on the north side of the road, construction crews were able to reopen the paved detour around the north side of the tank and will be completing the realignment of the 21-foot sewer main by the beginning of next week, he said.

In addition, the city has two other major road projects scheduled to be completed by summer of 2007, the first of which includes a joint reconstruction of Semiahmoo Parkway.

The project will include the repaving of a section of Semiahmoo Parkway road surface between Boundary Ridge Road and Semiahmoo Resort, improvements for stormwater drainage, improved pedestrian crossings near Boundary Ridge, traffic calming measures and an extension of a pedestrian walkway, connecting to the walkway on the west end of the spit.

“Right now everyone who comes off that path has to walk alongside the road and down the hill, that’s been a concern for sometime,” he said.

Banham said the city will also resurface the parking lot of the Semiahmoo Park Museum, to be partially funded by Whatcom County.

The second project involves designing improvements on 11 Blaine streets identified by the city’s street advisory committee. Those streets include Boblett, Bayview, Fourth, Ninth, D, H, Hughes and Clark streets and is primarily funded through a $100,000 grant from the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board.

In the case of H Street, Banham added that the city has already secured $500,000 in state grant money and is expecting voluntary road improvements from developers Ken Hertz and Doug Connelly, whose Grandis Pond and Blossom developments are slated to bring more than 1,300 new homes to east Blaine. Hertz and Connelly will also be expected to partially fund the construction of new roads throughout the east Blaine subarea.

Banham said that will possibly include the construction of an additional east-west collector road to pull traffic off H Street and several smaller north-south connector roads.

The additional roads will help prevent traffic back-ups as the population continues to grow and allow for greater access to commercial centers such as the Blaine International Center on H Street, he said.

“Right now, H Street is the major arterial route, it handles all the traffic that runs east to west,” he said. “What I’d like to do is to be able to provide a secondary collector route in those developments and through those developments so folks don’t have to drive out to H Street to go east to west.”

When asked if the city has plans to reconstruct the end of Marine Drive near the pier, Banham said the city will not look into the issue until the Port of Bellingham approves a joint master plan for the redevelopment of Marine Drive and Blaine’s wharf district.