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Work to begin for installation of closure gates on Slater Road

Water begins encroaching on Slater Road as the Nooksack River level passes the 16.5-foot mark at 8:30am (November 23, 2017). Photo: Whatcom News

FERNDALE, Wash. — Whatcom County Public Works crews will be preparing areas around Slater Road next week for the eventual installation of gates to be used when there are temporary road closures due to flooding.

According to documents online with the County, initial plans show potential locations where the gates may be installed (east of Ferndale Road and west of the RR tracks).

Potential location of roadway gates on Slater Road as of November 29, 2018. Source: Whatcom County Public Works

According to Whatcom County Public Works Assistant Superintendent Gina Miller, they are preparing to install roadway gates for closing that portion of Slater Road during flooding events. The gates swing out of the way when open and extend across the roadway when closed. This will allow crews to more quickly and easily close and reopen the roadway during flood events and will replace the need for barricades, barriers and other traffic control devices.

Miller said work scheduled for January 21st to the 24th (Tuesday to Friday) will occur on the shoulder of the road. For worker safety, a lane through the work area may be closed and flaggers will safely alternate traffic through the work area when that occurs. While project hours are 7am to 5pm, Miller said every effort will be made to avoid closing a lane during the morning and evening commute times.

Click for more information

Click for more information

Plans have also been made to install temporary roadway closure gates at these other sections of road frequently closed due to flooding according to the County’s website.

  • on Marine Drive at Rural Avenue, Ferndale Road and Lummi Shore Road/Drive
  • on Ferndale Road just north of Marine Drive

No word yet about when those projects may begin.

Many thanks to those readers who asked about the roadwork alert signs positioned on Slater Road bringing this story to light. Community news is built on community involvement.


  1. Theresa Wasel January 13, 2020

    Spend the time and money to raise the road where Slater floods rather than installing gates where barricades do the same job.

  2. richard owen January 13, 2020

    Need to install it on marine drive to and Ferndale rd

  3. Leslie Warne January 13, 2020

    Maybe it’s time to elevate the road so it doesn’t flood anymore, rather than spend wasted dollars on “flood gates”, time to be proactive, given the numbers of accidents that happen on I 5 exits due to overwhelming congestion due to Slater Rd closures

  4. Bud Carlson January 13, 2020

    Will there be ample room for traffic to turn-around where these gates are anticipated? Our hefty gas and license tab taxes should have resolved this issue decades ago.

  5. Norma Christensen January 13, 2020

    Why not just put new culvert and build road up on Slater Rd.

    • Pat Nevin January 13, 2020

      Because that makes too much since…

  6. David M Williams January 13, 2020

    Raise the road and avoid the mess in and around Ferndale that happened the other day when Main Street was closed and an accident had I-5 North closed at the Nooksack bridge exit. If there was an evacuation when Slater was closed, the money that was saved by putting in gates would look pretty dumb.

  7. Jenny Donovan January 13, 2020

    For God’s sake! Just address the actual issue! I will gladly take the detour for 6months if you just FIX IT!!!!

  8. Steve Quast January 13, 2020

    When Slater closes why don’t you post signs on north and south bound I-5 so people dont exit and end up in the bottle neck on LaBounty and Smith.

  9. TL Temple January 14, 2020

    Ferndale, the Lummi Nation and Whatcom County have been discussing this for 10 years. The Nation and Ferndale had come up with funds, The County keeps putting it off. So when there is and emergency and a truck filled with toxic chemicals blows up in the city due to road closures remember to sue Whatcom County for negligence.

  10. Scott henry January 15, 2020

    I think it’s b*******that none of us that live out here in Sandy Point have a say in this decision instead we got to drive an hour around through Ferndale traffic when it’s backed up already all for a stupid gate closure why don’t we put our tax dollars to fixing the problems by raising the road like it should have been done the first time but no they spend are tax $ making it easier for them selves by installing a gate that closes easily, for just a little bit of water that’s not even river water.
    This problem wouldn’t even be a problem if we still dredged the river

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