Local Information

Artist Point clearing is underway

Friday, June 1, 2018 - 07:12

Andrea E. Petrich, communication, 360-757-5963

Crews have kicked off work on the seasonal section of Mount Baker Highway

ARTIST POINT – With the help of sunshine and warmer temperatures, crews have moved in equipment and started the first stages of clearing work on the final 2.7 miles of State Route 542/Mount Baker Highway, known as the road to Artist Point.

Washington State Department of Transportation maintenance crews began clearing the section from the gate near the Mount Baker Ski Area to the Artist Point parking lot on Wednesday, May 30. Using two bulldozers, a rotary snow blower and a snowmobile with GPS to help keep them on the road, crews will work 10-hour days Monday through Friday to clear this stretch as quickly as they safely can.

Snow levels

WSDOT crews took snow measurements on Friday, May 25, and found 21 feet of snow in the middle of the Artist Point parking lot. Thanks to sunny May temperatures, that measurement was seven feet lower than measurements crews took at the same spot one month earlier.

On May 25, crews also measured:

  • 16 feet at the seasonal gate.
  • 35 feet at the Lake Ann parking lot.
  • 16.2 feet at the top of the Artist Point rest room.

On April 25 those numbers were:

  • 22 foot at the seasonal gate.
  • 40 feet at the Lake Ann parking lot.
  • 21.2 feet at the top of the Artist Point rest room.

This seasonal stretch of highway closes each winter due to the steep terrain, narrow road and sharp curves. The Mount Baker Ski Area also uses a portion of the area each season.

Opening the highway
Crews will work to clear the snow from the road as quickly as possible. They’ll work with the avalanche team to make sure the area is safe, reinstall signs and repair any winter damage before reopening the highway for the season, which is usually sometime in July.

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