Mount Baker Highway delays possible

Traffic delays will be minimal as contractor crews replace a culvert under Mount Baker Highway just west of Maple Falls, the Wadshington State Department of Transportation said.

The 40-year-old culvert channels High Creek and is currently blocking fish passage. It is one of about 850 culverts the state must replace by 2030 as part of the U.S. District Court for Western Washington ruling to fix fish barriers under state roads.

Contractor crews from Interwest Construction Inc. began work Monday, July 11 on a temporary bypass that will take vehicles around the work zone.

“Once the bypass road is complete and traffic moves onto it, crews will dig out a 20-foot deep hole to rip out the existing culvert and replace it with a newer and bigger one,” WSDOT Project Engineer Shane Spahr said. “The slight detour should only cause minimal delays.”

The entire project should be done by the end of August.

Removing the 6-foot round culvert and installing an 11- by 26-foot box culvert in its place will help restore High Creek to a more natural state and open up more of the creek to native and migratory fish. The estimated cost of the project is $2.6 million.

Drivers can get the latest travel information related to this project by visiting the Whatcom County construction update website.