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Work to reroute a portion of Mount Baker Highway moving ahead

Crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation are moving a portion of Mount Baker Highway after severe erosion by the Nooksack River.
Crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation are moving a portion of Mount Baker Highway after severe erosion by the Nooksack River. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Thanks in large part to some good early spring weather, workers plan to restore a section of Mount Baker Highway to two lanes next week, Washington State Department of Transportation officials said Thursday, March 12.

Crews closed one lane along a 1,000-foot stretch of the highway after the Nooksack River rose to near flood stage Feb. 6, further eroding a bank near the eastbound lane, which has been threatened by the river for years.

The state hired Bellingham’s Ram Construction to move that stretch of highway, which is just west of Glacier Springs, about 100 feet away from the river.

The $3 million project had been planned for this summer, but the river erosion prompted DOT to start the project sooner. Federal emergency funds will pay for the project.

“With rain the past couple of days and more ahead this weekend, we’re just waiting for some dry weather to pave it,” Tom Pearce said in a news release. “We expect to pave early next week, then we’ll shift traffic onto the new section.”

Pearce said drivers should be prepared for brief single-lane closures even after the paving work, as needed. Crews still will have to do some finishing work, remove the old roadway and replant the area to protect the soil from erosion.

Updates are available at this DOT webpage on the realignment project.

For more photos, check out the DOT’s Flickr page.

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