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I-5 traffic northbound at Smith Road (June 21, 2016). Photo: My Ferndale News

Emergency weight restrictions placed on area roads during thaw

Whatcom County and the City of Ferndale have both announced emergency vehicle weight restrictions on area roads in anticipation of above freezing temperatures.

According to announcements from Whatcom County and the City of Ferndale (COF), frozen roadways are expected to thaw during upcoming warmer weather. The County announcement explained,

“During a warming spell, following a freeze, roads thaw out from the top down. Water becomes trapped between the road surface and the frozen ground below, causing the roadways to float on a layer of water. As a result, heavy wheel loads can break through the pavement and destroy the road surface. To prevent this, some roads must be restricted for heavy wheel loads until the entire roadway thaws, allowing the water to drain out of the roadway. “

Whatcom County Public Works Department announced roads in the entire Whatcom County area would be subject to the emergency weight restrictions beginning 12:01am Sunday, January 15th except for roads have been constructed to an “all-weather” standard .

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COF announced select roads would be impacted beginning Tuesday, January 17th.

The following links provide additional details and the road lists compiled by the County and COF.

* Whatcom County roads without emergency weight restrictions (PDF)
* COF roads with emergency weight restrictions

The weight restrictions do not impact passenger vehicles, buses or emergency response vehicles. It is not yet known when the County or COF will lift their restrictions.

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