Bellingham Waterfront and Waypoint Park

Bellingham, Washington

  • Services Civil Engineering, Prime Consulting, Structural Engineering, Transportation Engineering, Waterfront Engineering
  • Market(s) Civic, Ports & Waterfront
  • Awards America's Best Restored Beach, American Shore and Beach Preservation Association, 2019
    Local Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement, American Society of Civil Engineers Seattle Section, 2019


acre urban waterfront park


pound art install


acre site redevelopment


linear feet of street improvements
  • Owner City of Bellingham
  • Contractor Strider Construction, Inc.
  • Collaborators Walker Macy
    Coastal Geologic Services
  • Team Seattle, WA
Bellingham Waterfront and Waypoint Park

The project objective was to restore a long-underutilized portion of downtown Bellingham’s waterfront district in a way that strengthened the public’s relationship to the water and benefitted fish and bird species. Waypoint Park and the beach are part of a major redevelopment of a contaminated site that was previously part of the Georgia Pacific pulp mill. The beach includes native riparian plantings to enhance bird habitat and water quality, as well as beach nourishment material suitable for forage fish spawning habitat.

This project could have been a typical site redevelopment of an industrial waterfront parcel. These projects typically attempt to balance demands of arterial traffic needs and levels-of-service with accommodations for bicycles, landscaping, pedestrians, and safety. Adjacent developers usually resist desirable Right-of-Way widths to maximize development space. Accommodating all interests typically results in a compromised design that provides limited facilities for most interests but not great facilities for all interests.

This project however was blessed with an owner and developer that shared a vision. This vision was creation of a new waterfront neighborhood that encouraged all modes of transportation to come and interact with a calm and friendly disposition, embracing the waterfront location with community access. This atmosphere would be a benefit to the adjacent parcel development, creating a new community within the City of Bellingham.

The City of Bellingham Public Works Department has been on the leading edge of sustainable practices for several years. However, the contaminated industrial waterfront site presented substantial challenges. The site had many known and unknown site conditions. Aside from typical large-site development planning, this aspect presented a complication not typically addressed within Public Works projects.

KPFF helped the City plan a roadway and multi-modal facility that provides traffic capacity, safe bike facilities, wide pedestrian facilities, interaction nodes, stunning landscaping, and visual sustainable stormwater treatment facilities. Unlike other new road projects, being on this road in any transportation mode gives the user a feeling of calmness and serenity.

The fun part however was under the road. The KPFF team worked with the City to minimize the environmental impact of construction and reduce the cost as much as possible. For wet-weather construction, the contract called for bank-run gravel to backfill utility excavations. Contaminated trench excavation that was suitable for embankment construction was stockpiled, moisture conditioned, and used as common borrow under the new roadway pavement. The contract paid for embankment compaction of all material (typically incidental) to generate incentive for the Contractor to reuse on-site material. Only unsuitable contaminated material was disposed, greatly reducing costs. All on-site pavement, including unforeseen concrete foundations and structures, were demolished on site and integrated into common borrow. Combined with recycled material percentages in non-structural concrete and asphalt, this project resulted in a model project that embraces current sustainable practices to the maximum extent feasible.


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