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Originally published June 30, 2011 at 8:46 PM | Page modified June 30, 2011 at 8:56 PM

Part of Mount Baker road won't be opened

Snow 50 feet deep still buries the road to Artist Point at Mount Baker and that will keep the upper portion of the road closed all summer.

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Snow 50 feet deep still buries the road to Artist Point at Mount Baker and that will keep the upper portion of the road closed all summer.

"We found snow 50-plus feet deep near the upper parking lot," said Theo Donk, state Department of Transportation (WSDOT) supervisor, who made a trek to Artist Point on Wednesday. "This is the deepest snow I've seen since the world-record year 1999, when the highway didn't open for the summer."

The WSDOT said it will not clear the last two miles of snow-covered highway to the upper parking lot because the snow is too deep and would take too long to clear. The work would tie up maintenance crews for the next two months when they could be working on other state priorities — fixing potholes, signs and guardrails.

"The restroom in the upper parking lot is nowhere to be seen," Donk said. "Normally the roof is peeking through the snow at this time. We couldn't even reach it with a snow-depth pole."

Crews will clear a path for drivers up to the Heather Meadows Visitor Center, opening about a mile of roadway and the lower parking lot. The work will begin Tuesday and should take about two weeks to complete.

The road to Artist Point is 2.7 miles long. It usually has opened in July.

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