This project will improve and connect Thornton Street, from Malloy Avenue to the roundabout at Portal Way/Second Avenue, via an elevated crossing at the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway right of way and tracks.
The new bridge will provide access between Malloy Avenue and the Portal Way roundabout which is anticipated to become a principal route for the majority of Ferndale residents living on the west side of the City.
In addition to the elevated crossing, Thornton Street will be upgraded to full city standards, including curb, gutter, shoulder, sidewalk and new street lighting within the project limits. Plans also include construction of a new stormwater treatment and detention facility, along with various utility upgrades to the water and stormwater systems.
Design is underway on the bridge structure and earthen wall embankments leading up to the overpass needed to clear BNSF’s tracks, as well as on the various roadway and utility improvements planned as part of the project. The City anticipates putting the project out to bid in fall of 2019, with the start of construction to follow thereafter. Because of the large pre-loading needed to stabilize and compress the soils beneath the embankments leading up to the bridge, the construction phase of the project will stretch across multiple construction seasons to allow sufficient time for the soils to settle and compact. Actual construction phasing and timing will be more precise once the City moves forward with a more complete design, but we’re anticipating a 3 year construction phase, with completion estimated in 2023.
In 2016, the City was awarded $19,167,000 in grant funding provided through the Connecting Washington (CWA) Program. The State Legislature has earmarked $19,167,000 for this project, spread over multiple biennia as part of the Transportation Budget.
In 2018, the City was selected to receive $2,500,000 from the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board’s Urban Arterial Program. This program is funded from the State’s Motor Vehicle Tax.
Additional funding will be made available via the City’s utility (water, sewer, storm) funds, transportation impact fees, and Transportation Benefit District, as needed.
News & Information
- Pre-Design Type, Size & Location Report (Recommends preferred design) — Presented to City Council on March 2, 2015
- Shearer Design Presentation on Design Options– Presented to Council March 21st, 2016
- Reichhardt & Ebe 60% Design Completion – Presented to Council July 17th, 2018
- Thornton Street Overpass Wall Finishes – Presented to Council Feb. 19th, 2019. By general consensus, the City Council asked that the project be put forward as an alternate bid for each of the available options. The summary of the meeting can be found by clicking here.
Steffrie Akers' Story
As we prepared for the Thornton Overpass project, members of the public have shared what this means to them. Here is one woman’s story:
This project has been of great personal interest to me as I have lived the majority of my life not only in the City of Ferndale, but near the base of Thornton Street itself. In 1992, my parents moved my brothers and me from Bellingham into a house on Shelby Ct. and there we stayed. Thorton’s road has been integral at many stages of my life.
As a child, it formed a border of the field I played in. I walked along it as I went to both Skyline Elementary and Vista Middle School. Returning home, I would often pause at many points to take in the glorious view of Mt. Baker. It instilled a need to pursue vistas wherever I went and be filled with perspective.
Even after graduating from Ferndale High School and traveling to new places, 6127 Shelby Ct. has remained the home of my soul. And to travel to it, I must always go down Thornton Street, my gateway to and from the rest of the world.
As the City of Ferndale begins this momentous task of building a bypass, it is extending Thorton Street into new possibilities. This bypass will continue to foster new growth and expansion in Ferndale. Not only does it alleviate current traffic congestion but allows for future city infrastructure. Ferndale’s past progress with the Main street Bridge expansion seems to project upon this new venture. Is it possible that a new downtown center will form, or even a new high school?
These are questions I ask that only time will tell. But as the landscape of Thornton Street transforms into something new, it is certain that some other little girl will move to Ferndale just like me. And she will be forever shaped by Thornton Street.