Pave the Loop: Funds for Mountain Loop Feasability Study Help Move Project Along
U.S. Forest Service and Snohomish County Receive Funds for Mt. Loop Highway Feasibility Study
Everett, WA, Sept 28, 2016. The Federal Highway Administration has approved up to $500,000 for theMountain Loop Highway Feasibility Study under the2016 Washington Federal Lands Access Program. Snohomish County partnered with the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest on this grant.
The Mountain Loop Highway (MLH) is the gateway to one of the most visited areas on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The MLH spans 52 miles from Darrington to Granite Falls and provides substantial tourism traffic and economic opportunities to local communities. It provides access to trails, campgrounds, picnic areas and a large amount of dispersed recreational opportunities in Snohomish County. The economic benefits are also related to opportunities for timber stand management from the surrounding national forest lands. The Mountain Loop Highway is jointly maintained by Snohomish County and the U.S. Forest Service.
“I am thrilled to see that our proposal for the MLH Feasibility Study has been funded through the Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP),” said Snohomish County Councilmember Ken Klein. “The Mountain Loop Highway provides a crucial and scenic connection between the Town of Darrington and City of Granite Falls, increasing access to the MLH connects rural communities while also improving their economies by attracting thousands of visitors every year. I am proud to serve these communities, and I am grateful for all of the hard work from the Snohomish County Public Works team and the United States Forest Service.”
The feasibility study is expected to take approximately 12 months to complete. It will determine if improvements should be made to the unpaved gravel portion of the Mountain Loop Highway to accommodate future access needs while improving operational safety and road maintenance.
Currently the pavement ends at Barlow Pass at the Old Monte Cristo Road and near the Beaver Lake Trail on the opposite side. Popular hikes like Goat Lake, Mount Pugh and North Fork Sauk River are in the middle of this section and would be even easier to get to.
Businesses in both Darrington and Granite Falls, as well as those in between, could see more traffic.