Rock slide shuts down right lane of I-5 for about a week

One lane of northbound Interstate 5 south of Bellingham will be closed for about a week because of a small landslide, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

On Tuesday state maintenance crews noticed rock debris in the area near milepost 248 and were concerned about the stability of the slope, said Marqise Allen, a spokesman for WSDOT. After a geotech crew took a closer look at the slope on Wednesday, the decision was made to keep one of two lanes of northbound I-5, along a quarter mile stretch, between North Lake Samish (exit 246) and state Route 11 (Old Fairhaven Parkway, exit 250) closed.

Crews will remove a section of rocks approximately 30 feet above the highway. For safety reasons, the work is limited to daylight hours, but the area will be monitored around the clock, officials said. Drivers should expect delays and intermittent traffic stops while the hillside is scaled

What does this mean to holiday travelers?

▪ With the holiday travel weekend approaching, drivers headed on northbound I-5 toward Bellingham or Canada should be prepared for delays.

▪ With anticipated heavy holiday traffic, backups could stretch for two miles during peak periods.

▪ Drivers who are able to adjust their trip to leave earlier or later will help reduce congestion and avoid delays.

▪ For destinations in central or western Whatcom County, state Route 9 is a possible alternate route.

Drivers can get real-time traffic information on their mobile device with the WSDOT traffic app or by tracking theWSDOT north Twitter feed and can get advanced information from the local highway construction page.

Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269, @BhamHeraldBiz