Freeze/Thaw Weight Restrictions & Road Closures

What happens during a sudden freeze-thaw event on Whatcom County Roads?

Sudden Freeze Thaw Events

Some roads are constructed to handle freeze-thaw while other roads are prone to significant damage. During a warming spell that follows 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.

Stages of Road Restrictions

Stages of road restrictions are established according to county code. The 1st stage is "Emergency" when there are no bus travel restrictions unless otherwise determined necessary by the County Engineer. When restrictions are elevated to "Severe Emergency" (2nd stage) the number of roads that buses are allowed to travel is reduced.

Below is a bus route map showing the roads that buses will be allowed to travel during Severe Emergency Restrictions (2nd stage) as well as 2 lists of roads that correspond to the map. 

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