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Thursday, December 08, 2011
Dustin Terpening, WSDOT communications, 360-757-5997 (Burlington)
BELLINGHAM – Hillside work closes one lane of I-5 near Bellingham starting next week as crews remove loose rocks and trees from the slope above, and in particular one very large rock described as being the size of a motor home.
Workers will close the left lane of southbound I-5, two miles south of Bellingham, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Dec. 12-15, and again Dec. 19-22.
“There’s a rock perched up there about the size of a small motor home – it’s a big bugger,” said Ric Willand, Washington State Department of Transportation maintenance supervisor.
The rock is approximately 20 feet long, 10 feet tall and 7 feet thick, Willand estimated.
Through an emergency contract, WSDOT hired contractor Strider Construction to stabilize the hillside. Crews will remove loose rocks and trees, install rock bolts, and spray shotcrete (spray-on concrete) on the hillside. The work is expected to cost $100,000-$150,000 to complete.
The work will occur in the same vicinity where a rockslide happened the day before Thanksgiving, which dumped a truckload of rock onto southbound I-5 and snarled traffic for hours.
WSDOT maintenance crews have since cleared the slide, pulled down more rocks and removed some trees to temporarily stabilize the hillside.
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