A scaled-down version of the Lincoln Road widening project will definitely be underway, thanks to a $2.4 million state grant announced recently by Whatcom County, but the construction has been put off until the summer of 2011. The entire project is expected to cost nearly $4 million and still must be approved and put into the 2011 road construction budget by the Whatcom County Council sometime this fall.
To fully fund the project the council must find an additional $1.5 million, the most likely source being taxes on sales of real estate. The project has been included in Whatcom County’s six-year county transportation improvement program (STIP) but is not assured until it’s included in the county budget.
Last year’s STIP had the project listed second in priority, but at the time planned improvements would have cost nearly $12 million.
This year’s reduced project, listed in first place in the current STIP, includes repaving a mile of road, adding 8-foot-wide paved shoulders for bike and pedestrians and make drainage improvements. The plan eliminates a separate trail for bikes and pedestrians, a planned roundabout at Harborview Road and a planned extension to Blaine Road.
Area residents have heard all this before. The project was first proposed in 1992 after development in the area increased traffic dramatically.
More recently, the Birch Bay Steering Committee’s transportation and public safety subcommittee under the leadership of Dora Lee Booth has pressed hard for some kind of improvements to be made.