From a smartphone to a favorite news source, drivers in Whatcom County will soon have more real-time traffic information at their fingertips. The Washington State Department of Transportation plans to bring 14 new traffic cameras and other travel information for state routes 539 and 9 online by this fall.
Weather permitting, construction begins May 5 and is expected to finish by the end of summer, with the cameras available shortly thereafter.
During construction, drivers can expect weekday lane and shoulder closures between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. Crews will be working along the shoulder on both directions of SR 539 Guide Meridian, and along the northbound shoulder during work on SR 9 in Sumas.
In April, WSDOT awarded a $1.9 million contract to Valley Electric Company of Mount Vernon. The contractor will install six miles of fiber optic cable, 12 new traffic cameras, a weather station and an electronic message board along northbound Guide Meridian between Horton Road in Bellingham and Main Street in Lynden.
The message board will display border crossing information to help drivers make the most efficient crossing choices. The project also adds two new cameras near the Sumas border crossing on SR 9.
“Cameras and weather stations help provide accurate collision and weather information to emergency responders, the media and public,” said Project Engineer Chris Damitio. “From crashes and backups to bad weather, this equipment has been proven to be a good investment to help keep drivers safe and moving along our highway system.”
In 2012, WSDOT installed 15 miles of fiber optic line and 21 traffic cameras along Interstate 5 from the Samish Way in Bellingham to the Birch Bay-Lynden Road near Blaine, helping to fill a 10-mile-long “dead zone” between Bellingham and the border. The project helps local drivers as well as travelers using the two easternmost border crossings in Whatcom County.
The majority of funding for both projects came from federal border infrastructure dollars. This funding is dedicated to improving the safe movement of people and goods at or across the U.S. borders at Canada and Mexico.
The total funding for improvements on SR 539 and SR 9 is $2.8 million.
A list of camera locations and weekly updates on lane closures can be found on the Construction Updates Report.