Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will install 10 new cameras and other traffic-detecting equipment at Blaine, Lynden and Sumas, three of Whatcom County's four busy border crossings. The new equipment will allow WSDOT to broadcast more border information and wait times on roadside signs, radios and the web, taking the guesswork out of choosing the quickest border crossing.
WSDOT awarded the $2 million project contract to Valley Electric Co. of Mount Vernon, Wash. to install the cameras, data loops and a highway advisory radio. Valley Electric’s bid was $51,000 less than the engineers’ estimate.
Crews will start construction Thursday, June 21, and finish in September 2007. Most of the work will be along highway shoulders and not in the driving lanes. There will be a few daytime lane closures and nighttime ramp closures, but drivers should expect relatively minimal delays during construction.
New cameras will be turned on along:
- I-5 at Peace Arch;
- I-5 at D Street (2 cameras);
- I-5 at Mitchell Avenue;
- I-5 at Odell Road;
- I-5 south of Odell Road;
- I-5 at Loomis Trail Road;
- State Rte. 539 at Badger Road (State Rte. 546);
- State Rte. 539 at border; and
- State Rte. 9 at Front Street.
The new cameras will be accessible via the WSDOT border webpage (www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/border/) by the end of summer. The advance information will help drivers make choices before they hit the road. WSDOT also has made traffic maps and cameras available for many web-accessible cell phones at www.wsdot.wa.gov/small.
WSDOT will transmit border wait times for State Rte. 543, the Blaine truck crossing, starting in fall 2008, after the highway widening project there is complete. Once five new cameras go in as part of that project, drivers will have access to wait times and cameras at all four Whatcom County border crossings.