Local Information

SR 542 reduced to one lane east of Glacier

Wednesday, November 18, 2015 - 16:12

Tom Pearce, WSDOT communications, 360-661-7903
Tony Hernandez, WSDOT project engineer, 360-788-2500

Erosion near eastbound lane exposes numerous guardrail posts

GLACIER – Drivers who use State Route 542 east of Glacier will find the highway limited to one lane. Today, Tuesday, Nov. 17, the Washington State Department of Transportation closed the eastbound lane of SR 542 indefinitely near milepost 39, about six miles east of Glacier, as a safety precaution.

The Nooksack River eroded the bank below the highway, exposing 90 feet of guardrail posts along the eastbound lane. A traffic signal will alternate vehicles through the westbound lane.

Access to Mount Baker east of the lane closure will remain open; however, drivers can expect some delays. WSDOT has placed temporary signals near the eroded portion of the riverbank to control the single lane traffic. The signal timing will be set up to best accommodate peak traffic, allowing more vehicles to head east toward the Mount Baker Ski Area in the morning and west in the afternoon.

“We’re doing everything we can to maintain access to the ski area,” said Todd Harrison, WSDOT assistant regional administrator. “We’re developing plans to repair the riverbank as quickly as possible to keep drivers safe.”

WSDOT crews are assessing how to protect the roadway and keep the river from continuing to wash away the embankment, about 14 miles west of the Mount Baker Ski Area. Repairs are estimated to cost $500,000 or more.

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