State Department of Transportation workers prepare to push a refrigerator-sized boulder over the embankment over Lake Crescent on U.S. Highway 101 on Wednesday morning. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

State Department of Transportation workers prepare to push a refrigerator-sized boulder over the embankment over Lake Crescent on U.S. Highway 101 on Wednesday morning. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Boulder blocks U.S. Highway 101 lane for several hours at Lake Crescent

PORT ANGELES — A large boulder that blocked one lane of U.S. Highway 101 at Lake Crescent on Wednesday morning was pushed into the lake within hours.

The boulder that rolled down the steep hillside to block the lane traveling west weighed several tons, said Claudia Bingham Baker, Transportation spokeswoman. She added that it was 6 feet tall and about 8 feet long.

“It was kind of like a little Volkswagen,” she said.

The highway was closed at about 7:30 a.m. at milepost 230 and opened to one-lane alternating traffic minutes later. The boulder had been removed by 11:30 a.m.

Cleanup and guardrail repair took a couple more hours, so alternating traffic continued into the early afternoon.

Originally, Transportation crews planned to use a machine that breaks up large rock using pressure from inside the rock. But the boulder was too porous for that, Bingham Baker said.

Instead, workers removed a section of the guardrail and pushed the boulder into Lake Crescent, she said.

When the boulder first rolled down the hillside, it brought with it several small, young trees, Bingham Baker said.

Those were easily removed.

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