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1. SR 544 in Lynden will close for a month as we improve fish habitat under the road
The Washington State Department of Transportation is making significant progress this summer on highway improvements and fish passage projects across Western Washington. A wide range of work is taking place, and many roads will see some form of closure or lane reduction for the duration of construction. Some of the work is being conducted as part of WSDOT’s ongoing efforts to address habitat decline on its system of highways and roads.
In what is one of the biggest fish culvert improvements in the region, crews on SR 544 near Lynden will close the road for a month as they excavate and replace an old, concrete culvert with a new, more fish-friendly structure. This project is one of many underway across the state as WSDOT addresses problems that have contributed to declining salmon and other fish populations.
Drivers are urged to be prepared for delays and plan ahead when traveling on this section of SR 544, as the road will be closed at Noon Rd from Aug. 23 to Sept. 15. The detour is signed and a map is available on this SR 544 webpage. Regular project updates including the latest on lane closures are posted and people can also access WSDOT’s real-time travel center for more information on this and all summer construction and maintenance work in the area.
SR 539, known locally as the Guide Meridian, is a north-south state highway in northwestern Whatcom County connecting Bellingham with Lynden and the Canadian border near Blaine. It is a four-lane highway and has been expanded in recent years to accommodate high traffic volumes.
The road begins as a continuation of Meridian Street north of downtown Bellingham at an interchange with Interstate 5. It passes through a commercial and retail district near the Bellis Fair Mall, then heads into residential areas near Whatcom Community College and the Cordata business park. Beyond Bellingham city limits, the highway enters rural Laurel and crosses Fourmile Creek on a bridge and the Nooksack River on a pair of steel truss bridges before reaching Lynden.
In the late 2000s, the Guide Meridian was expanded to a four-lane highway with turn lanes. The roadway is served by several Whatcom Transportation Authority bus routes that connect Bellingham to Lynden, Everson and Nooksack. Collisions have increased on the highway since its upgrade, but injuries have been reduced by the installation of roundabouts and cable median barriers.
2. SR 544 in Lynden will close for a month as we improve fish habitat under the road
The SR 544 project improves fish habitat by removing culverts and installing new ones that allow native salmon to swim through. This work is part of a larger effort to help salmon species recover in Western Washington. WSDOT is advancing road improvements and fish passage projects across the state, including several in Whatcom County.
Known as the Guide Meridian, SR 539 is a north-south state highway that travels through the southwestern outskirts of Lynden and intersects with SR 5. The two-lane roadway narrows to one lane as it passes through an industrial area near the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds before entering the Laurel neighborhood of Lynden. The highway passes the campus of Meridian High School before crossing Fourmile Creek, a roundabout with Ten Mile Road and then passing through another one with East Pole Road. SR 539 then enters a rural section where it passes through more farmland before reaching the Lynden-Aldergrove Border Crossing. This is the fourth-busiest crossing in Whatcom County, with more than 500,000 vehicles entering and leaving the United States every year.
As travelers use the border crossing, it’s important to remember that they should have their ArriveCAN receipt; passport or travel documents; proof of vaccination and identification for everyone in the vehicle; and their NEXUS card. In addition, drivers should check current wait times before heading to the border and consider arriving in the early morning for shorter lines.
Travelers should also plan ahead for ongoing work on SR 9 in Whatcom County. The highway will be closed overnight this week for BNSF Railway track rehabilitation work. A signed detour will be in place, and traffic control officers will assist travelers through the work zone.
The road will be completely closed from the intersection with South Pass Road in Everson to the junction with Kendall Road in Bowen, with a signed detour route using both roads. The work is expected to continue through the end of October. Traffic control will be in place, and speed restrictions will apply as needed. For more information, visit the project website or call the construction hotline at (800) 248-3787.
3. SR 544 in Lynden will close for a month as we improve fish habitat under the road
SR 544 begins in Bellingham as a continuation of Meridian Street north of Interstate 5. It travels through an industrial area near Bellis Fair Mall before entering a residential neighborhood. The highway narrows to two lanes as it approaches downtown Lynden. After passing the Northwest Washington Fair and Events Center, it crosses the Bellingham-Aldergrove border crossing to Canada, bypassing busier Blaine crossings.
This summer, contractor crews will remove several fish barriers and replace them with new passable structures along SR 544 in Whatcom County. These improvements will improve the habitat of native salmon and other species that depend on culverts under state highways to move upstream.
The work is part of a larger effort to improve fish passage under state highways throughout Western Washington. The Washington State Department of Transportation is removing older, less-passable culverts and replacing them with modern structures that provide better access for fish.
This work will cause some disruption for travelers, but WSDOT is working hard to minimize impacts as much as possible. The contractor is removing pavement, concrete and an old culvert, and then installing a new structure that will be more fish-friendly. Crews will work nightly on a section of the roadway west of Noon Road.
Drivers can find current information on a variety of projects and other news for SR 544 on WSDOT’s project website, which also includes links to email alerts, apps and maps that will help drivers plan their routes.
Traffic control will be in place for the duration of this work. Motorists should expect to see temporary signs, lane restrictions and varying speed limits in the work zone. The construction is expected to be complete by mid-August.
WSDOT will also be improving US 12 in Whatcom County this week, as crews shift lanes at the Wenzel Slough work zone near Montesano. Travelers should be prepared for reduced lane capacity as they cross the bridge to continue through the work zone.
4. SR 544 in Lynden will close for a month as we improve fish habitat under the road
SR 544 is a four-lane highway that travels from Bellingham through the city of Lynden to the Canadian border. It is part of the National Highway System, a network of highways important for the country’s economy, defense, and mobility. The route was added to the state highway system in 1937 as Secondary State Highway 1B, linking Bellingham to the Canadian border and primary State Highway 1.
In recent years, SR 544 has been one of the most dangerous roadways in Whatcom County, with an average of 96 collisions per year. To reduce collisions and injuries on the highway, WSDOT is adding roundabouts, cable median barriers and rumble strips. The project will also remove fish barriers from the highway, replacing older culverts that don’t always allow passage for native salmon and steelhead.
The road will be closed around-the-clock, from Monday, Aug. 5 through Saturday, Sept. 15. Traffic will be detoured to alternate routes during construction. Drivers should use the Washington State Department of Transportation’s real-time travel center to plan their trips and stay informed on current traffic conditions in Lynden and beyond.
From the Laurel roundabout north of Bellingham, SR 544 travels through the residential area near Meridian High School and enters the city of Lynden, passing through a retail and commercial district and a business park before reaching the northwest corner of town. The highway continues north through farmland and crosses Fourmile Creek and Ten Mile River before crossing over Wiser Lake on a bridge and the Nooksack River on another steel truss bridge.
Toward the end of the project, crews will install a new roundabout at the intersection with Hannegan Road, improve crosswalks and striping and install new pavement. In addition, a new culvert will be installed in the Skookum Creek tributary to replace an existing culvert that doesn’t provide adequate flow for salmon and other native fish.
In the Everson area, BNSF Railway has scheduled work at its crossing on Highway 9. The railway will be reducing the highway to one lane in each direction between South Pass Road and Schouweiler Road through Friday, Aug. 25. Motorists are advised to follow detour signs and expect delays.