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New section of Mount Baker Highway now open

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

Contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation opened a new section of Mount Baker Highway late Wednesday afternoon, March 18, restoring the route to two lanes.

On Feb. 8, transportation officials reduced the highway to one lane near the Glacier Springs community because the Nooksack River was eroding the bluff below the road.

Workers with Ram Construction of Bellingham, working under an emergency contract, cleared a new path for the highway about 100 feet northeast of the old roadway. They blasted and removed about 1,500 cubic yards of rock and debris, enough to fill 150 dump trucks, then put down soil and gravel and paved two lanes and shoulders to restore two-way traffic.

“By moving the highway away from the Nooksack River, we expect there won’t be any more erosion problems,” Project Engineer Chris Damitio said in a press release.

Work crews still have some minor work and clean-up to finish, so drivers should be prepared for occasional lane closures with traffic control for the next couple of weeks.

For more photos of the project, check out the DOT's Flickr page.

For a short video showing the blasting work, go to this YouTube page.

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