Frequently Asked Questions on the Jackson Road Bridge #81 replacement
Why is this bridge being replaced?
The existing bridge is nearing the end of its useful service life. It is currently load restricted and has a “Poor” condition rating. To meet current design standards the bridge will need to be replaced.
If the bridge’s condition rating is classified as “Poor, does that mean it is unsafe to cross?
A bridge rated in “Poor” condition does not imply that it is unsafe for travelers or in danger of collapse. Whatcom County regularly inspects bridges and categorizes them by condition. A bridge classified as "Poor" condition means there are elements of the bridge that need to be monitored, repaired or replaced. To remain open to traffic, bridges are often posted with reduced weight limits that restrict the gross weight of vehicles using the bridges. Should a condition arise where the bridge is not sound, the County will continue to take appropriate actions to ensure the safety of the travelling public.
When will this project take place and how long will it take?
This is going to be a multi-year process to complete the “Type, Size and Location” analysis and design phases of the project. We can’t give a good timeline on the actual replacement as we’re in the beginning states of the project and there are many factors that have not yet been decided. A number of items will need to be considered including funding, permitting, detailed design, Right of Way, cultural resources, etc. A number of these items influence and are dependent on the recommended alternative coming out of this first phase of work. Updated timelines will be posted periodically on the website.
Which department within Whatcom County Government is in charge of this project?
Public Works Department, Roads and Bridges Division
Who is the contact person within Whatcom County Government for this project?
Which bridge will be replaced?
The bridge to be replaced crosses Terrell Creek near the corner of Birch Bay Drive and Jackson Road.
The final design of the bridge will be determined after completing a standard process. It begins with a “Type, Size and Location” (TS&L)study which will identify a recommended alternative for the replacement bridge. The TS&L study consists of preliminary engineering analysis, public engagement, and will consider various design factors including motorized and non-motorized traffic needs, load requirements, environmental and cultural concerns, and how the bridge is situated on the site. The second phase of the project consists of the design phase where the details of the design are developed and permitting/Right of Way acquisition get underway.
This will be determined as part of this initial Type, Size & Location Study process.
What will be the cost of this project and where will the money come from?
Costs will be estimated as a bridge replacement alternative is developed and refined further as the project progresses through design. As costs are dependent on many factors and we’re early in the process, a cost estimate for the project is unknown at this time. While Phase 1 of the project is funded locally through Whatcom County’s Road Fund, the County plans to pursue outside funding opportunities from a number of potential sources to assist with construction costs.
Will there be an opportunity for the public to provide input on the design of the bridge?
Yes. We will solicit input into the project in several different ways including open houses and surveys. Please check the project website for information on multiple upcoming public meetings. In the first open house (to be held virtually due to COVID19) we will ask for input from the public about the use of the bridge and any general design ideas. There is also an online survey on the project website which we encourage you to fill out. A second open house will be scheduled at a later date that incorporates feedback from the first meeting and survey results. Once the Type, Size & Location study is completed, there will be an opportunity to learn about the initial design concepts prepared by the consulting engineers and to provide additional feedback.
I would like to be kept informed about this project as it develops. How do I receive updates?
Click on the Notify Me button on the project webpage to receive periodic email announcements and project updates. More details about this project including specific dates and links to open houses, traffic re-routes, impacts, and other information will be added to this site as they are made available. If you have any trouble signing up for Notify Me, please email Marie for assistance.