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Crews move mountains of snow to reopen Artist Point

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Date:  Monday, July 23, 2012

Contact: Dustin Terpening, WSDOT communications, 360-757-5997 (Burlington)

Road opens Tuesday for first time in two years

MOUNT BAKER – The road to Artist Point was buried under 20 to 30 feet of snow when crews began clearing Mount Baker Highway in early June. Since then, they have pushed, plowed and blown their way up the mountain to clear the scenic route and vista. The road will open Tuesday, July 24, for the first time since 2010.

Maintenance crews for the Washington State Department of Transportation tackled the tough task of clearing the highway with a snowblower and two bulldozers. The snow was so deep that the bulldozers had to cut the snow down to a manageable depth for the mouth of the snowblowers to chew through.

“It was a tough job, for sure,” said Theo Donk, WSDOT maintenance supervisor. “We were working along steep hillsides and in rough weather conditions most of the time. The crew did great, though, and we’re getting the road open before August, despite how much snow there was.”

The road to Artist Point is 2.7 miles long and 5,000 feet above sea level and is typically buried under snow and closed October through June. The opening and closing of the road is heavily dependent on weather and snow conditions.

Only one mile of the road to Artist Point was opened in 2011 because of poor weather conditions and deep snow.


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