Washington State Route 542

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State Route 542 marker

State Route 542
Mount Baker Highway
SR 542 is highlighted in red.
Route information
Auxiliary route of I-5
Defined by RCW 47.17.795
Maintained by WSDOT
Length: 57.24 mi[2] (92.12 km)
Existed: 1964[1] – present
Major junctions
West end: I‑5 in Bellingham
  SR 9 near Deming
SR 547 in Kendall
East end: Mt. Baker Ski Area
Location
Counties: Whatcom
Highway system
SR 539 SR 543

State Route 542 (SR 542) is a 57.24-mile-long (92.12 km) state highway in the U.S. state of Washington, serving Mount Baker in Whatcom County. SR 542 travels east as the Mount Baker Highway from an interchange with Interstate 5 (I-5) in Bellingham through the Nooksack River valley to the Mt. Baker Ski Area at Austin Pass. It serves as the main highway to Mount Baker and the communities of Deming, Kendall, and Maple Falls along the Nooksack River. The highway was constructed in 1893 by Whatcom County as a wagon road between Bellingham and Maple Falls and was added to the state highway system as a branch of State Road 1 in 1925. The branch was transferred to Primary State Highway 1 (PSH 1) during its creation in 1937 and became SR 542 during the 1964 highway renumbering.

Route description[edit]

SR 542 begins as Sunset Drive and the Mount Baker Highway at a partial cloverleaf interchange with I-5 to the northeast of downtown Bellingham.[3][4] The highway travels northeast through suburban neighborhoods along Squalicum Creek and passes Squalicum High School as it leaves the city of Bellingham.[5][6] SR 542 continues northeast through rural Whatcom County, crossing the Nooksack River and intersecting SR 9 at a roundabout.[7] The concurrent SR 9 and SR 542 travel southeast through the community of Deming along a BNSF rail line and passes Mount Baker Senior High School.[8][9][10] SR 542 leaves SR 9 east of Deming and turns north along the North Fork of the Nooksack River and the eastern slope of Sumas Mountain to Kendall, where it serves as the southern terminus of SR 547.[11][12][13] The Mount Baker Highway turns east and continues along the Nooksack River North Fork into the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest at Glacier in the foothills of Mount Baker.[14][15] SR 542 turns south and serves the Mt. Baker Ski Area on the northeast side of the mountain before splitting into a one-way pair around Picture Lake.[16][17] The Mount Baker Highway continues through Austin Pass and ends at Artist Point, located at 5,210 feet (1,588.01 m) above sea level on Kulshan Ridge.[2][18][19]

Every year, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) conducts a series of surveys on its highways in the state to measure traffic volume. This is expressed in terms of average annual daily traffic (AADT), which is a measure of traffic volume for any average day of the year. In 2011, WSDOT calculated that the busiest section of SR 542 was the I-5 interchange in Bellingham, serving 38,000 vehicles, while the least busy section of SR 542 was the one-way pair around Picture Lake in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, seriving 230 vehicles.[20] The Mount Baker Highway is designated as a National Forest Scenic Byway and serves as the eastern section of the Ski to Sea Race between Mount Baker and Maple Falls, a 90-mile (140 km) Memorial Day race with seven legs hosting seven events.[21][22][23] The eastern terminus of SR 542, at Artist Point on Kulshan Ridge,[19] is closed annually by WSDOT between October and July due to extreme weather conditions.[24][25][26]

History[edit]

The Mount Baker Highway was constructed by Whatcom County in 1893 as a wagon road traveling northeast from Bellingham along the Nooksack River through Deming and Kendall to Maple Falls.[27][28][29] The wagon road was extended from Maple Falls through Glacier to the Mt. Baker Ski Area at Heather Meadows began 1921 and ended in 1926.[30][31][32] The Mount Baker Highway was added to the state highway system in 1925 as the Austin Pass branch of State Road 1 and was extended to its current terminus at Artist Point in 1931.[33][34][35] The highway was closed seasonally between Glacier and Artist Point until the filming of The Call of the Wild in 1934 and 1935 prompted interest in the Mount Baker area.[36][37] The Department of Highways began clearing the highway of snow during the winter of 1934 for the film and continued annually between Glacier and Heather Meadows;[38][39] however, the highway was not cleared during World War II due to gasoline shortages.[27] The highway was designated as the Austin Pass branch of PSH 1 during the creation of the primary and secondary state highways in 1937 and renumbered to SR 542 in 1964.[40][41][42] The entire route, between Bellingham and Austin Pass, was designated as part of the Washington State Scenic and Recreational Highways program in 1987 and a National Forest Scenic Byway on November 1, 1988.[43][44]

Major intersections[edit]

The entire highway is in Whatcom County.

Location Mile[2] km Destinations Notes
Bellingham 0.00–
0.06
0.00–
0.10
I‑5 – Seattle, Vancouver B.C. Western terminus, interchange
  9.98 16.06 SR 9 north – Nooksack, Sumas West end of SR 9 overlap, roundabout
  14.57 23.45 SR 9 south – Acme, Sedro-Woolley East end of SR 9 overlap
Kendall 22.91 36.87 SR 547 north – Sumas Southern terminus of SR 547
Mount Baker NF 57.24 92.12 Mt. Baker Ski Area Eastern terminus
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

References[edit]

  1. ^ "47.17.795: State route No. 542". Revised Code of Washington. Washington State Legislature. 1970. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Staff (2012). "State Highway Log: Planning Report 2012, SR 2 to SR 971" (PDF). Washington State Department of Transportation. pp. 1709–1721. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  3. ^ "SR 5 - Exit 255: Junction SR 542/Sunset Dr" (PDF). Washington State Department of Transportation. September 15, 2004. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Feature Detail Report for: Bellingham". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. September 10, 1979. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Feature Detail Report for: Squalicum Creek". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. September 10, 1979. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Feature Detail Report for: Squalicum High School". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. May 19, 2009. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Feature Detail Report for: Nooksack River". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. September 10, 1979. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Feature Detail Report for: Deming". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. September 10, 1979. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Feature Detail Report for: Mount Baker High School". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. March 1, 1993. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  10. ^ Washington State Department of Transportation (January 2012) (PDF). 2011 Washington State Rail System (Map). http://wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres/FDBE2AB4-E504-4AC5-9E30-6A2CC4FAAD34/0/2011Ownership.pdf. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
  11. ^ "Feature Detail Report for: North Fork Nooksack River". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. September 10, 1979. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Feature Detail Report for: Sumas Mountain". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. September 10, 1979. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Feature Detail Report for: Kendall". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. September 10, 1979. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Vicinity Map: Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest" (PDF). United States Forest Service. April 8, 2008. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Feature Detail Report for: Glacier". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. September 10, 1979. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  16. ^ Mt. Baker Ski Area (2012) (PDF). Mt. Baker 2012–13 Trail Map (Map). http://www.mtbaker.us/files/9813/5154/8020/MtBaker_TM_2012_13.pdf. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
  17. ^ "SR 542: Junction SR 542 CO MTBAKR" (PDF). Washington State Department of Transportation. April 28, 2006. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  18. ^ Google Inc. "State Route 542". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=E+Sunset+Dr&daddr=WA-542+E&hl=en&ll=48.849535,-122.059165&spn=0.483466,1.352692&sll=48.847074,-121.689999&sspn=0.003777,0.010568&geocode=FX0v6AIdg1qz-A%3BFSpY6QIdjh6_-A&t=m&mra=me&mrsp=1,0&sz=17&z=10. Retrieved February 20, 2013.
  19. ^ a b "Feature Detail Report for: Huntoon Point". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. September 10, 1979. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  20. ^ Staff (2011). "2011 Annual Traffic Report" (PDF). Washington State Department of Transportation. pp. 206–207. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  21. ^ United States Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration. Mount Baker Highway (Route 542): Map (Map). http://byways.org/explore/byways/2236/travel.html. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  22. ^ Moore, David Leon (May 26, 2010). "Grueling outdoor adventure race blends sportsmanship with competitiveness". USA Today. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  23. ^ Ski to Sea Race (2012) (PDF). 2012 Ski to Sea Race Course (Map). http://www.skitosea.com/Assets/coursemaplarge0412.jpg. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
  24. ^ "Artist Point - history of opening and closing dates". Washington State Department of Transportation. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  25. ^ "Artist Point - Frequently Asked Questions". Washington State Department of Transportation. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  26. ^ Terpening, Dennis (October 15, 2012). "Crews to close road to Artist Point at Mount Baker". Washington State Department of Transportation. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  27. ^ a b "History and timeline of the road to Artist Point". Washington State Department of Transportation. Retrieved February 23, 2013. 
  28. ^ United States Geological Survey (August 1908) (JPG). Washington (Whatcom County): Sumas Quadrangle (Map). 1:250,000. http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/topo/washington/txu-pclmaps-topo-wa-sumas-1906.jpg. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  29. ^ United States Geological Survey (1919) (JPG). Washington (Whatcom County): Van Zandt Quadrangle (Map). 1:250,000. http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/topo/washington/txu-pclmaps-topo-wa-van_zandt-1918.jpg. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  30. ^ Heller, p. 7.
  31. ^ The Moutaineer, Vol. XVIII, No. 7. Mountaineers Books. June 1926. p. 6. 
  32. ^ United States Geological Survey (May 1915) (JPG). Washington: Mt. Baker District (Map). 1:250,000. http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/topo/washington/txu-pclmaps-topo-wa-mount_baker-1909.jpg. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  33. ^ Washington State Legislature (February 18, 1925). "Chapter 26: An Act relating to and establishing, classifying, naming and fixing the routes of certain state highways". Session Laws of the State of Washington. Session Laws of the State of Washington (1925 ed.). Olympia, Washington: Washington State Legislature. p. 59. Retrieved February 23, 2013. Section 1. A primary state highway, to be known as State Road No. 1 or the Pacific Highway, is established as follows: From a junction in the city of Bellingham; thence by the most feasible route in an easterly direction to Austin Pass in Whatcom County. 
  34. ^ Rand McNally (1926). Rand McNally Junior Road Map of Washington (Map). http://broermapsonline.org/online/NorthAmerica/UnitedStates/Northwest/Washington/unitedstates1926ra_076.html. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  35. ^ Heller, p. 31.
  36. ^ "Mount Baker Gale Defied Film ‘Call of the Wild’". The Seattle Times. January 3, 1935. 
  37. ^ "Even Mt. Baker Blizzard Can’t Stop Cameras.". The Seattle Times. January 21, 1935. 
  38. ^ American Ski Annual. United States Ski and Snowboard Association. 1935. p. 78. 
  39. ^ Heller, p. 34.
  40. ^ Washington State Legislature (March 17, 1937). "Chapter 190: Establishment of Primary State Highways". Session Laws of the State of Washington. Session Laws of the State of Washington (1937 ed.). Olympia, Washington: Washington State Legislature. p. 933. Retrieved February 23, 2013. SECTION 1. A primary state highway to be known as Primary State Highway No. 1, or the Pacific Highway, is hereby established according to description as follows: Also beginning at Bellingham on Primary State Highway No. 1, as herein described, thence in an easterly direction by the most feasible route to a point in the vicinity of Austin Pass in Whatcom county. 
  41. ^ Prahl, C. G. (December 1, 1965). "Identification of State Highways". Washington State Highway Commission, Department of Highways. Retrieved February 23, 2013. 
  42. ^ United States Geological Survey (1966) (JPG). Victoria, 1966 (Map). 1:250,000. http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/topo/250k/txu-pclmaps-topo-us-victoria-1966.jpg. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  43. ^ "47.39.020: Designation of portions of existing highways and ferry routes as part of system.". Revised Code of Washington. Washington State Legislature. 1967; revised 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2011. Retrieved March 10, 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  44. ^ "Mount Baker Highway (Route 542): Official Designations". United States Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved March 10, 2013. 

Works cited[edit]

External links[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing