A harbinger of what’s to come? Flaggers on Tyee Drive directed traffic while the water district installed new lines.
After waiting in long lines to get into Point Roberts during the height of summer, motorists will likely face traffic jams as Whatcom County crews plan to repave Tyee Drive. The slowdowns will occur as flaggers squeeze north and southbound traffic into one lane.
According to the county, August offers the best window of opportunity for the project. “We need good, dry weather,” design engineer Gary Goodall said. “I’d like to do the majority of the work in August.”
Although the local water district was able to install water lines on April 20 rather than wait until August, Goodall said they didn’t have that luxury. “We need the asphalt hot when it gets here,” he said. The asphalt, trucked from various plants in the county, starts its journey at 290°F. It requires warm weather to make it to the Point at a still useable temperature. “It needs to be 200°F or hotter when we put it down and compact it,” he said.
Goodall said the impact on traffic will vary depending on which section crews are working on and whether they are grinding and resurfacing the old pavement or paving. In the narrow section of Tyee Drive between Benson and Johnson roads, travelers can expect one lane open, with flaggers alternating traffic in one direction at a time. Goodall said they anticipate being able to keep one lane open in each direction north of Johnson Road.
To minimize the impact of the project, Goodall said they’ve coordinated with both border agencies. At the request of these agencies, he said they would not be bringing material to the Point on Fridays, and work on Fridays will be limited. “Weekends will likely be clear but we will work them if we have to,” he added. The project is scheduled to be completed within 35 working days.
Goodall said while most of the material that is ground off Tyee will remain on site to level and regrade the road, a portion will be removed and added onto the shoulder of Benson Road to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists. “We’ll be enhancing the existing shoulder at least as far as the fire station,” he said.