The Samish Way on-ramp to northbound Interstate 5 in Bellingham will reopen Thursday, June 28, after crews spent the past several months adding nearly three football fields’ worth of length to the ramp.
Project engineer Chris Damitio said drivers should now have more room to get up to speed before merging onto the freeway.
“Before, it almost felt like you had to dive into traffic by the time you got to the end of the ramp,” Damitio said, in a press release. “The extra length should really help smooth the merge and improve traffic flow and safety.”
The Washington State Department of Transportation plans to open the remodeled ramp once it complete’s striping and lighting the new road surface.
Officials said wet weather could potentially delay the reopening.
The on-ramp was initially scheduled to open in May after crews working for the transportation department built a 900-foot-long retaining wall to support the extra length.
Crews drilled and cemented more than 100 pieces of rebar into the hillside to act as anchors for the retaining wall. Once the anchors were installed, transportation officials found 15 did not pass strength tests.
Repairs to ensure all anchors were strong enough to hold the extra weight of the expanded freeway on-ramp added an extra month of work.
“We greatly appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding while we’ve had the ramp closed for the past three months,” Damitio said. “We know how inconvenient it has been, and we’re glad to get it back open.”
The Samish Way improvements are part of a $4.4 million state project that has lengthened three other I-5 on-ramps in Bellingham, including the northbound Iowa Street ramp, the southbound Sunset Drive ramp and the southbound Lakeway Drive ramp.