Sustainable Bridge Project Receives Greenroads Silver Certification

A recently completed GeoEngineers bridge and roadway improvements project earned a Greenroads Silver Certification for its environmentally sustainable design and construction. GeoEngineers provided geotechnical design services for the James Street Bridge and Roadway Improvements project in Bellingham, Washington. In addition to vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian improvements in the corridor, the project focused on habitat integration, environmentally friendly water runoff management and sustainable building practices.

The Greenroads Foundation is an independent non-profit that recognizes transportation projects for their commitment to sustainability. The James Street Bridge project is the latest of eight Greenroads-certified projects GeoEngineers has completed, including the first internationally certified project.

The new James Street Bridge replaces two century-old timber bridges with a larger 80-foot single-span bridge elevated above the flood plain of Squalicum Creek below. The design reused 80 percent of the existing pavement areas in the road’s bridge approaches, included 24 percent recycled content in the new construction, and sourced nearly 100 percent of materials locally to within 100 miles. Water runoff is managed with porous surfaces and naturally treated by routing it into wetlands at the edges of the bridge intended for biofiltration. The team carefully integrated the bridge into the creek ecosystem, even restoring habitat along the new channel banks.

“This project and resulting certification is a reflection of a sustainable mindset; that with the right strategy it’s possible to blend the priorities of human development and natural habitat,” says Sean Cool, GeoEngineers project manager. “GeoEngineers supports this approach on our projects and is proud to be a member of the project team that was able to successfully implement this philosophy.”

The roadway and bridge improvements are part of GeoEngineers’ broader work in the Squalicum Creek corridor, including a reroute of the creek, construction of flood protection berms, walking trails, pedestrian bridges and eventually a new roadway connection between James Street and Squalicum Parkway below Interstate 5.

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