Port of Bellingham Launching Terminal Modernization Project

The Port of Bellingham. File photo.

A new and improved Bellingham Shipping Terminal is set to open this spring.

The Port of Bellingham announced Feb. 1 that it is moving forward on a $27.5 million effort to modernize the shipping terminal.

The project involves removing 22,000 cubic yards of legacy contamination from the Whatcom Waterway, dredging the navigation channel from minus-26 feet to minus-35 feet for better ship access, installing a modern stormwater system and bolstering the main dock by removing and replacing 140 feet of aging, damaged wharf structure, the port said.

“This investment is part of an ongoing effort started many years ago to develop an active deepwater port as the centerpiece of a vibrant, mixed-use waterfront,” Port Commission President Ken Bell said. “When the Shipping Terminal Modernization Project is complete, we will finally have the maritime infrastructure necessary to meet the needs of the modern shipping industry and create working waterfront jobs for our community.”

The project is paid for in part with a $6.85 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Port Infrastructure Development Program.

In-water dredging work is expected to take place through mid-February and then from August to October to protect salmon. When in-water work pauses, crews plan to conduct upland improvements on the main dock, according to the port.

Meanwhile, ILWU Local 7 in Bellingham has added eight permanent longshore workers and 30 new casuals in anticipation of a busier terminal in the future.

By Karen Robes Meeks