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Samish Park now set to be open this summer after bridge project is delayed again

Artistic rendering of completed Lake Samish Bridge project (August 2017). Source: Whatcom County

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — The Lake Samish bridge replacement project scheduled to begin later this month has been rescheduled to begin in late May of 2024. As a result, Samish Park will now be open in this summer. The park was expected to be closed the entire summer to due to the bridge construction.

According to Whatcom County Public Works, the project was put out for bids and the County received only 1 bid. That bid was approximately $800,000 over the available budget so the project was not awarded to the bidder.

The project is expected to go out for bids again in the fall of 2023 with construction anticipated to begin in late May 2024. When construction begins, the bridge will be closed to all traffic and a signed detour put in place for approximately 13 months.

During a routine safety inspection, Whatcom County crews found increased amounts of rot in the wood of the bridge superstructure over the water. According to the Whatcom County website, “Without some immediate solution the bridge would have to be closed to heavy traffic including school buses and fire district vehicles.”

Construction was previously planned to begin in 2022 but was rescheduled “due to additional time needed to complete all right-of-way negotiations and to obtain all environmental permits. In addition, concrete girder fabrication time is now taking 6 to 9 months, which is much longer than in past years.”

Bridge traffic was reduced to a single lane in March of 2016 with drivers taking turns proceeding in opposite directions.

Single-lane traffic revision on the bridge. Source: Whatcom County
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