H Street revitalization and sidewalk projects begin

Published on Wed, Aug 8, 2012 by Jeremy Schwartz

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Construction crews have started work on the H Street revitalization project.

Crews from Lynden-based Stremler Gravel will spend the next two-and-a-half months upgrading the sidewalks along H Street from Peace Portal Drive to the I-5 overpass, adding 26 street lights to match those on Peace Portal and resurfacing H Street. The city received state and federal grants for all but $192,000 of the $712,000 project and will pay for the rest through its electric fund, assistant Blaine public works director Bill Bullock said.

Crews are working on the south side of the street first, then shift to the north side, Bullock explained. Drivers should expect traffic flaggers and minor delays, though neither lane will be completely closed for an extended period of time.

“In general, there’ll be two-way flow throughout the project,” Bullock said.

Construction will mostly involve 9 feet of sidewalk closest to the street, leaving 5 feet open to pedestrians. Sidewalk detours will be used if construction machinery extends into the pedestrian area, but most of work will allow easy access to the buildings on the street, Bullock explained. Sidewalks will remain open once construction stops for the evenings.

“They’re going to maintain as much of the back of these sidewalks as they can,” Bullock said. “The intent is to keep an open flow of traffic, both pedestrian and vehicle, as continuous as possible throughout the project, so we have the least amount of impact to the businesses.”

The most significant changes to H Street will be the installation of angled parking spaces on the north side of the street and new crosswalks at the Third Street intersection. Angled parking has the potential to make stopping and shopping along H Street more attractive to drivers, according to Blaine public works staff.

Curb extensions, called bulb-outs, will be built at the intersection of H and Third streets. Bullock said bulb-outs allow pedestrians a clear line of sight down a row of parked cars. The bulb-outs, which would narrow the road at the crosswalks from 40 feet to 26 feet, would also slow traffic along H Street, making pedestrian crossings safer.