City develops plans for I-5 southbound off-ramp

Published on Thu, Jun 2, 2011 by Tara Nelson

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CH2MHill provided this schematic of the proposed interchange at exit 274.


Motorists driving southbound on I-5 through the U.S./Canadian border will have a second chance to access the city if plans for a new interchange are completed.

The project, part of the city’s six-year transportation design plan, would replace the current interchange at exit 274.

Although still in the preliminary design phase, Blaine public works director Steve Banham said the project could be built within five to six years if city officials are able to find enough grant funding. The total project cost would be about $30 million to $40 million, he said.

Once completed, it could direct freeway traffic toward downtown Blaine and provide a boost to businesses there.
“Our goal is to eventually have a full interchange in Blaine,” Banham said. “We don’t feel like the current interchange serves Blaine very well.”

In the meantime, Blaine public works officials are working on securing grant money through the Washington State Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Highway Administration to help pay for the environmental review and design. They currently have an application for a $400,000 grant from the DOT to complete the first part of that process.

Having a design and environmental review completed will help the project gain speed and credibility with different funding agencies because it is “shovel ready,” Banham said.

It would also help the city in leveraging street improvement funding from future large development projects.
“Knowing there’s a plan in place could help that happen,” he said.

For more information about the interchange or other projects on the six-year transportation plan, visit www.cityofblaine.com.