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West Bakerview/Interstate 5 Interchange Improvements

Project Overview​: ES-0500

Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) completed the "Fairhaven to Slater Interstate 5 Master Plan" in November of 2008, with a recommendation to construct a "Single Point Urban Interchange (SPUI)" at the West Bakerview/I-5 interchange.  The estimated cost to construct a SPUI was $40 million dollars and both the City of Bellingham and WSDOT acknowledged that this level of funding was unlikely in the foreseeable future.  This led to the 2011 WSDOT Value Planning Study (VPS) for the West Bakerview/I-5 Interchange, which identified $3.5 million in low-cost short-term improvements that were constructed by Bellingham in 2013 with funding partners (Whatcom County, Economic Development Investment Board, Port of Bellingham, Fred Meyer, and Transportation Improvement Board).  The 2011 VPS also identified future improvement options that could be constructed, but have first required the City to engage in an Interchange Justification Report (IJR) process with WSDOT, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), County, Port of Bellingham, Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA), Ferndale, and Lummi Nation.   

The City of Bellingham funded the IJR process and contracted with WSDOT staff to lead this effort, beginning in January 2015.  Multiagency meetings have occurred every month at WSDOT offices and a set of 17 alternatives has been narrowed to five alternatives for in-depth transportation analysis to identify the best option for improving multimodal safety, mobility, and circulation while reducing traffic congestion across the I-5 overpass to support economic development in northwestern Bellingham.  In 2015, the Washington legislature allocated $10 million in "Connecting Washington" gas tax funds for future interchange improvements at West Bakerview/I-5, with funding available for design and right-of-way acquisition in 2017-2018 with construction anticipated in 2019-2020.  A public Open House will be held from 7:00 - 9:00pm on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at Alderwood Elementary School located at 3400 Hollywood Avenue, Bellingham, WA 98226.  The IJR process is expected to conclude in December 2016 with a recommendation for a set of scalable improvements that could be constructed in step-wise fashion over time, as needed and as funding becomes available. 

Project Documents

Project Details

  • Status: Multi-Agency Interchange Justification Report (IJR) in process (2015-2016) 
  • Contract Awarded:
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  • Vicinity Map


Affected Neighborhoods

    Urban Growth Area; Meridian

Participating Departments

    Public Works


​Chris Comeau
Transportation Planner
Phone: 360-778-7946
Public Works Contacts