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Still no date set for reopening road to Artist Point

Forecasters are calling for a sunny weekend, but you probably still won’t be able to drive up to Artist Point.

It’s been cold enough that some of the recent rainfall in the Bellingham area fell as snow in the mountains. That has slowed the effort to clear the last 2.7 miles of Mount Baker Highway leading to the Artist Point parking lot, according to the Washington Department of Transportation.

Plowing began April 20, after a winter that produced an exceedingly low snowpack. Department officials had hoped to open the road in early May, but the opening date remains unknown.

In most years, plowing begins in June, when snowfall has ended. This year, the early clearing effort is running into new snowfall at times.

Crews have to clear the new snow, which also interferes with posting signs along the final stretch of highway. That work needs to be done before officials can reopen the road.

Still, the section of highway is expected to open this year earlier than any other year on record. The earliest opening date is June 29, in 2005.

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