Loader slips, tumbles down hillside near Bellingham

We had to close a portion of Chuckanut Drive (State Route 11) near Bellingham for close to two hours Tuesday, Dec. 2 to pull a front loader out of the trees.

The loader was driving down the narrow, winding, two-lane road and had moved over to the "shoulder" to let some cars pass, when it slipped and tumbled down the steep hillside. Apparently the driver got a little too close to the edge of the hillside. The soft, steep shoulder wasn't able to support the weight of the loader and down it went. It landed upside down against a tree. The driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

SR 11, tractor slipped off hillside

SR 11, tractor slipped off hillside

SR 11, tractor slips off hillside

You're probably wondering why the loader was driving along the highway in the first place. To make a long story short, there have been a few (four) rockslides on Chuckanut Drive in the last month. The contractor we hired, Granite Northwest, has the loader on the highway to help clean up the slides. The loader had been rearranging a pile of rocks at a dump site and was headed back to the rockslide location when it happened.