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Bellingham/Mount Vernon Area Questions



Welcome to "Ask the Traffic Team," a Web page created to answer your everyday questions about traffic issues in WSDOT's Mount Baker Area. You can find common questions sorted by subject in our Frequently Asked Questions archive.

To submit your question, simply e-mail our Public Affairs office and provide as much detail as possible. You can typically expect a response with a week.

I-5 potholes
Nadine from Bellingham is concerned about the number of potholes on I-5 between Blaine and Bellingham. Does WSDOT plan to fix them?

Nexus lane
James would like to know who decided to make the northbound D Street off-ramp in Blaine a Nexus lane for Canadian-bound drivers. The backup will block Blaine residents from getting to their homes.

Badger Road speed
Steve from Lynden is upset that no one warned him about a new, lower speed limit on Badger Road (SR 546). The WSP was out there writing tickets, and he feels that WSDOT is at fault for not letting the public know.

ANSWERS

Q: When will WSDOT fix the potholes on I-5 between Bellingham and Blaine?
Thank you for your concern and taking the time to contact us about the potholes. We are well aware of them and are on the constant lookout for new ones. This time of the year, with lots of rain, cold temperatures and old pavement, it turns into a great recipe for these to develop rather quickly. The asphalt plants are closed down this time of year so our only tool is to fill them cold mix asphalt, which is only a temporary fix. We will continue to do this until the weather gets better.

We hope to complete a more permanent fix this summer when the asphalt plants start back up. We plan to grind out the failing areas and replace them with some hot mix asphalt, which should last much longer. In addition, we hope to fix some of the broken concrete panels in the Bellingham area.


Q: Why did WSDOT decided to make the northbound D Street off-ramp a Nexus lane?
Canada Customs (CBSA) moved the NEXUS inspection booth from the far right side of the plaza to the far left side. This requires a change in the current lane assignments leading to the booths. WSDOT assisted this transition by changing the highway striping and installing new signs to help direct traffic to the new booth. This is only the beginning of changes that should help reduce congestion and improve safety - for border crossers - and folks like you that travel or live near the border crossings.

You might find it interesting to know that in October alone, 1.2 million people crossed from Canada into the U.S. at just one of the four crossings in Whatcom County. A large portion of these folks were Canadian, but many were traveling US citizens. It's also interesting to note that more than $40 million (USD) in daily trade is shipped across the border. The Blaine border crossings are the third and fourth-largest passenger and freight border crossings on the North American border. The border is a major economic driver for local residents, the state and our nation.

These decisions are not made lightly. Much thought and research goes into the planning and design at the border. We're sorry that you're frustrated with border changes; we will continue to work to balance your needs with those of the border crossings' as we work to relieve congestion at the border.


Q: Why did WSDOT not warn drivers about a new, lower speed limit on Badger Road?
While we haven't been able to verify this with State Patrol, it's our understanding that they don't typically ticket drivers right after a speed limit change. I believe they try and warn drivers of the change. You might contact the State Patrol for more information.

We can, however, explain why we changed the speed limit on Badger Road.

We were asked to review the speed limit on Badger Road earlier this year when we attended a Lynden City Council meeting. The request came after a motorcyclist was hit and killed on Badger Road in June.

Our traffic engineers studied the traffic speeds, volumes, crashes and access points along the highway before deciding to make the change. We found that traffic volumes have doubled in the last 10 years, and there have been quite a few crashes. As a result, we decided to lower the speed limit to 45 mph between the Guide Meridian and Kamm Creek bridge.

Hopefully, it won’t take too long for those familiar with the highway to notice the new speed limit signs and adjust their speeds accordingly. We are also installing several more speed limit signs to help make it more apparent to drivers that the speed limit has changed.

Prior to the speed limit change, there was an article in the Lynden Tribune announcing the change.
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