Public Works Letter re: New ‘Safety’ Road Signs

At least this letter from Public Works’ Doug Burghart ‘explains’ things, though some may think the explanation is rather lame given the incredibly large number of new large signs around recently placed on Lummi Island, including at places there’ve been safety signs for years (e.g., warning at the top of Centerview about the sharp curve to Tuttle Lane).  This ‘one size fits all’ approach to signs, some of which obviously are better suited to cars traveling 50+ mph than the island’s meager size (less than 2 mi wide, about 9 mi long including Lummi Mountain) and 25 mph limits is definitely less than satisfactory to many islanders, myself included.

This letter has been distributed electronically via Paul Davis’ Brown Betty email service and it’s been (or will be) posted  on Nextdoor Lummi Island (NDLI). I’m re-posting the letter here because the Ferry Forum has better search and storage functions than NDLI or your email inbox.

——— Forwarded message ———-
From: Doug Burghart <>
Date: Mon, Dec 12, 2016 at 2:54 PM
Subject: Lummi Island Community Outreach–Roadway Signs
To: “” <>, “” <>
Cc: Jim Karcher <>, Joe Rutan <>, Jon Hutchings <>, Jack Louws <>, Council <>

Lummi Island Residents,


As many of you are aware, Whatcom County Public Works has recently been installing new roadway signs on Lummi Island.   This is part of a County-wide, Federally-funded program to decrease run-off-the- road accidents.


In 2013-2014, Whatcom County Public Works (WCPW) completed the first phase of this program by installing over 35 miles of shoulder and centerline rumble strips as well as nearly $400,000 in beam guardrail installations across Whatcom County.  The second phase of the program, currently underway, will install over 21 miles of shoulder rumble strips as well as over 800 curve warning signs at nearly 300 locations County-wide.


These curve warning signs are required by the new standards in the federally mandated “Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices” (MUTCD).   It should be noted that WCPW was given a grace period to comply with the new requirements, and by obtaining this Federal grant, we are able to come into compliance as well as make all the County’s roadway warning signs uniform.


During the preliminary engineering phase, WCPW engineers, surveyors, and technicians reviewed existing roadway geometrics to identify the nearly 300 sites throughout Whatcom County that were deficient in terms of horizontal alignment signage.   Fourteen (14) of these sites are located on Lummi Island.


In determining exact sign placement for the various sites, WCPW did their best to accommodate the needs of individuals, although this has proved to be challenging due to the vast number of sites.  We are continuing to address concerns with individual sites as they come up, the primary one on Lummi Island being the signs at the Beach Store Café.  There may be options available to achieve the aesthetic concerns of individual property owners; however, this safety obligation must be met.


In hindsight, WCPW realizes that Lummi Island residents would have benefitted from this information being provided to the Tome prior to the beginning of this work.   This has been a very long duration and wide ranging project across the County and we appreciate the public’s understanding and patience.  For additional information please contact Doug Burghart, Project Engineer at 360-778-6277.

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