Crews begin clearing snow from road to Artist Point

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJune 11, 2014 

Transportation crews are clearing snow from the last 2.7-mile stretch of Mount Baker Highway to where it ends at Artist Point - hoping to open it for the season by the Fourth of July weekend.

State Department of Transportation workers started plowing June 2.

Artist Point usually is open from mid- to late July until the first substantial snowfall of the year in late September or early October.

It has been closed since Sept. 30, after opening on July 1 in 2013.

Workers have benefitted from the recent sunny weather, which is melting some of the snow.

"The weather is helping us quite a bit," said Theo Donk, DOT maintenance supervisor.

But the weather is changing to showers in the coming days.

The snow was an average of 20 feet deep on the road - with depths of 22 feet in the Artist Point parking lot and as much as 45 feet deep in one section of the road, according to Donk.

Located more than 5,000 feet above sea level, Artist Point is a popular viewpoint that features a 360-degree vista, including views of Mount Shuksan and Mount Baker.

It also is the jumping-off point for several stunning mountain hikes.

More on snow removal at Artist Point is at wsdot.wa.gov/Northwest/Baker/ArtistPoint.

For more photos from the 2013 opening, go to this flickr.com webpage.

Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or kie.relyea@bellinghamherald.com .

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