Birch Bay berm construction started Monday


After decades in the works, preparatory work on Birch Bay’s long awaited beach restoration project began this week. Whatcom County officials called it a rolling start: the contractor, Granite Construction, is moving equipment to Birch Bay Drive and putting erosion control measures in place at the beach.

The project, called the Birch Bay Drive and Pedestrian Facility Project or the Birch Bay berm, will add about 210,000 tons of sand and gravel to a 1.6-mile stretch of beach between Lora Lane and Cedar Avenue. The project’s goals are to restore the beach to a natural state by replacing a series of sea walls and other concrete structures, protect Birch Bay Drive from storm surges, and improve bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure along the road.

Granite Construction anticipates bringing 80,000 tons of sand and gravel to the project site between January 6 and February 15, 2020, according to a project update on Whatcom County’s website. That’s enough sand and gravel to complete the berm from Lora Lane to the Bay Breeze Restaurant, on the project’s south end.

Traffic impacts will be minimal through December while Granite Construction tackles preparatory work, according to the county’s update. Starting in January, traffic impacts will include a single lane closure and/or flagging for truck traffic between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m., when most of the work will take place.

The project will be built over two winters, finishing in April 2021, according to the current construction schedule.

For updates on the project, or to sign up for Whatcom County’s online notifications on the project, visit


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