Local Information

SR 542 to Artist Point reopens after crews complete temporary repairs on crumbling wall

Tuesday, August 17, 2021 - 16:35

Meggan Carrigg Davidson, communications, 360-757-5966
Melissa Ambler, project engineer, 360-788-7400

SR 542 to Artist Point reopens after crews complete temporary repairs on crumbling wall

Travelers can now access the highway past Heather Meadows Visitor Center

GLACIER – The final 1.8-mile stretch of State Route 542/Mount Baker Highway to Artist Point reopened to non-oversized vehicles today, Tuesday, Aug. 17. Temporary repairs to the crumbling wall that forced an early closure of the highway late last fall are complete.

In October 2020, hillside erosion caused a portion of the wall to crumble. The highway closed early, ahead of snowfall, to reduce the risks of an uncontrolled collapse over the winter. At that time, crews removed a section of the wall to keep it from falling on the outdoor recreational areas below. The wall is located at milepost 55.6 and sits above the Heather Meadows Visitor Center, Chain Lakes Loop trailhead and Austin Pass Picnic area.

Erosion below and behind the wall – built in the 1930s – requires extensive rehabilitation, but there is no current funding available for the long-term repairs. This summer contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation worked to temporarily stabilize the slope and wall until funding becomes available for permanent repair work.

The Road to Artist Point
This stretch of highway, known as the Road to Artist Point, is narrow with sharp curves and steep slopes. Each winter, WSDOT closes it to vehicle traffic to keep travelers safe, while at the same time a portion of the road becomes part of Mt. Baker Ski Area’s terrain.

Typically, during the summer months, WSDOT crews start clearing the final 2.7 miles of Mount Baker Highway as well as the Artist Point parking lot.

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