Washington State Route 544

Summary

State Route 544 marker

State Route 544
A map of northern Whatcom County with SR 544 highlighted in red
Route information
Auxiliary route of I-5
Defined by RCW 47.17.800
Maintained by WSDOT
Length8.94 mi[1] (14.39 km)
Existed1964–present
Major junctions
West end SR 539 near Lynden
East end SR 9 in Nooksack
Location
CountiesWhatcom
Highway system
SR 543SR 546

State Route 544 is a state highway in northern Whatcom County, Washington, United States. It runs east–west for 9 miles (14 km) near the Canadian border, connecting SR 539 near Lynden to Everson and a junction with SR 9 in Nooksack.

The Lynden–Everson highway was built in the 1880s as a wagon road, with onward connections to Nooksack via a ferry over the Nooksack River that was later replaced with a bridge. It was paved by the Whatcom County government in the 1930s and incorporated into the state highway system in 1951 as a branch of Secondary State Highway 1A. During the 1964 state highway renumbering, the branch became SR 544. The Nooksack River bridge between Everson and Nooksack was replaced in 1994 after a major flood damaged the old structure.

Route description

Main Street (SR 544) in Everson

SR 544 begins at a roundabout with SR 539 (the Guide Meridian) on the south side of Wiser Lake near Lynden. The highway travels east on Pole Road through farmland and passes a housing subdivision near the Raspberry Ridge Golf Course.[2] SR 544 continues due east along Fourmile Creek and turns north at a junction with Everson Goshen Road near several gravel pits and the Nooksack Indian Reservation. After passing several industrial businesses, the highway turns northeast to enter Everson and turns north onto Mead Avenue near the city's elementary school. SR 544 then turns east once again at Kale Street and continues northeast onto Everson Road as it crosses the Nooksack River alongside a section of the Bay to Baker Trail.[3] The highway travels east through downtown Everson on Main Street, passing several businesses, the city hall, and a branch of the Whatcom County Library System.[4] SR 544 continues across a small patch of farmland to neighboring Nooksack, where it becomes Columbia Street and runs for several blocks on the southern outskirts of the town.[5] SR 544 terminates at a junction with SR 9, which uses a block Columbia Street to cross over the BNSF Railway's Sumas Subdivision before continuing north towards Sumas and south towards Sedro-Woolley.[6][7]

SR 544 is maintained by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), which conducts an annual survey on state highways to measure traffic volume in terms of average annual daily traffic. Average traffic volumes on the highway in 2016 ranged from a minimum of 6,700 vehicles at the SR 539 roundabout to a maximum of 9,800 vehicles on the Nooksack River Bridge.[8] The entire length of SR 544 is also served by Whatcom Transportation Authority bus route 71X, which connects Bellingham to Everson, Nooksack, and Sumas.[9]

History

The route from Bellingham to Everson was originally part of the Whatcom Trail, used by the indigenous Nooksack people and later prospectors during the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush in the 1850s and 1860s.[10][11] The Bellingham and Northern Railway was later built in the 1880s along the route from Bellingham to Everson and Sumas and included a crossing of the Nooksack River west of Everson.[12] The Everson bridge was later joined by a road bridge that was constructed a decade later to replace a ferry on a major wagon road.[13][14] The east–west road connecting Everson and Nooksack to the Guide Meridian was paved in the early 1930s by the county government.[15]

The Everson road was designated as a branch of Secondary State Highway 1A (SSH 1A) by the state legislature in 1951.[16] SR 544 was created during the 1964 renumbering to replace the Everson branch, while the rest of SSH 1A became SR 9.[17] After suffering damage during a major flood in November 1990,[18] the original truss bridge over the Nooksack River was replaced with a longer span, which opened in 1994.[11][19] The entire highway was repaved by WSDOT in summer 2005, requiring the three-month closure of sections near Everson. The project cost $2.6 million to complete and was delayed by the discovery of gasoline-contaminated soil under Everson's Main Street.[20][21]

Major intersections

The entire route is in Whatcom County.

Locationmi[1]kmDestinationsNotes
0.000.00 SR 539 (Guide Meridian Road) – Bellingham, Border CrossingRoundabout
Nooksack8.9414.39 SR 9 – Sumas, Sedro-Woolley
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

References

  1. ^ a b Multimodal Planning Division (January 3, 2018). State Highway Log Planning Report 2017, SR 2 to SR 971 (PDF) (Report). Washington State Department of Transportation. pp. 1651–1653. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  2. ^ Dills, Isabelle (April 5, 2010). "Longtime employees take ownership of Raspberry Ridge Golf Course & Grill". The Bellingham Herald.
  3. ^ Johannes, Katie N. (November 18, 2006). "Bay-Baker trail still alive; Backers remain optimistic for pathway linking mountains, shore". The Bellingham Herald. p. A1.
  4. ^ Gambrell, Jon (March 14, 2005). "Growing Everson wrestles with signs". The Bellingham Herald. p. A3.
  5. ^ Taylor, Sam (March 4, 2009). "Everson and Nooksack residents discuss merging". The Bellingham Herald.
  6. ^ Google (September 13, 2018). "State Route 544" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  7. ^ "Statewide Rail Capacity and System Needs Study: Task 1.1.A – Washington State's Freight Rail System" (PDF). Washington State Transportation Commission. May 2006. pp. 11–12. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  8. ^ 2016 Annual Traffic Report (PDF) (Report). Washington State Department of Transportation. 2017. p. 211. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  9. ^ "Route 71X" (PDF). Whatcom Transportation Authority. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  10. ^ Oakley, Janet (October 29, 2004). "Construction begins on the Whatcom Trail in September 1857". HistoryLink. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  11. ^ a b Lower Nooksack River Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan: Nooksack River Flood History (Report). Whatcom County Transportation Services Department. June 1995. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  12. ^ Robertson, Donald B. (1986). Encyclopedia of Western Railroad History: Oregon, Washington. Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton Press. p. 190. ISBN 9780870043666. OCLC 13456066. Retrieved September 14, 2018 – via Google Books.
  13. ^ "Nooksack River Flood". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. December 24, 1889. p. 3. Retrieved September 14, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. Free to read
  14. ^ Conlee, Emma C. (September 1953). "The Baxter Family". Washington Highway News. 3 (3). p. 21. OCLC 29654162. Retrieved September 14, 2018 – via WSDOT Library Digital Collections.
  15. ^ State of Washington Highway Map (Map). Washington State Department of Highways. April 1, 1933. Retrieved September 16, 2018 – via Washington State Archives.
  16. ^ "Chapter 273: Establishing Primary and Secondary Highways" (PDF). Session Laws of the State of Washington, 1951. Washington State Legislature. March 20, 1951. p. 637. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  17. ^ C. G. Prahl (December 1, 1965). "Identification of State Highways" (PDF). Washington State Highway Commission. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  18. ^ "Floods ease, but impact is long-lasting". The Seattle Times. November 11, 1990. p. A1.
  19. ^ "City of Everson Draft Comprehensive Land Use Plan Update" (PDF). City of Everson. March 2016. p. 7-4. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  20. ^ Lei, Serena (August 10, 2005). "Highway 544 gets $2.6M in improvements". The Bellingham Herald. p. A3.
  21. ^ "Main Street closure extended in Everson". The Bellingham Herald. August 26, 2005. p. B1.

External links

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata
  • Highways of Washington State