No reopening date for Yew Avenue, Drayton Harbor Road


Two Blaine area roads damaged from historic flooding last November are expected to remain closed indefinitely, with completion of one of the projects at least two years out.

Yew Avenue doesn’t have a reopening date after part of its shoulder collapsed during the November 2021 floods, forcing closure of the compromised roadway. More information should be known at the beginning of 2023 after the city has a better idea on the design work needed, said Gary McSpadden, Blaine’s acting public works director. City crews are working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to understand the soil type under Yew Avenue as well as conducting an environmental study to determine whether the culvert under Yew Avenue is fish-bearing.

McSpadden said it could take months to understand the soil’s compaction, which will determine the design work. Once the design is known, public works will have clearer timeline and cost estimates.

Yew Avenue sits above a 19th century railroad grade. The road’s shoulder collapsed after a culvert beneath it failed. Public works hasn’t seen substantial damage since the initial damage, McSpadden said.

“We’re looking a bit out for reopening,” he said. “It looks like it could be an extensive repair.”

Drayton Harbor Road, near Shintaffer Road, also won’t reopen to two lanes in the near future. Construction is scheduled for summer 2024 but is subject to change depending on final repair plans, said Mandy Feutz, communications specialist with Whatcom County Public Works Department. The project will require shoreline and other critical area permits, which Feutz said typically take a long time.

The road closed to one-lane last November after the shoulder washed out. The county conducted a stability analysis that determined it was safe to partially open the road. The county also did a topographical survey to help with the design phase, Feutz said.

There is not yet a cost estimate to repair Drayton Harbor Road, Feutz said. The project is eligible for FEMA funding.


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