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Thursday, May 12, 2011
Sam Arola, WSDOT Maintenance, 360-442-1342 (Kelso)
Heidi Sause, WSDOT Communications, 360-905-2057 (Vancouver)
TOUTLE – Drivers heading to the annual reopening of the Johnston Ridge Observatory this weekend can look forward to smooth sailing on SR 504. Crews have raced against the clock to clear nearly 20 feet of late-spring snow from the highway in time for visitors to attend the annual event.
Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) crews plan to reopen the scenic byway, also known as Spirit Lake Memorial Highway, just east of Coldwater Lake (milepost 45) at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 14.
The highway has been closed since mid-December 2010 due to heavy snowfall. WSDOT closes SR 504 from the Hummocks Trailhead to the Johnston Ridge Observatory each year due to hazardous snow conditions and avalanche risk. The roadway reopens in the spring when weather conditions improve and crews are able to effectively clear the snow from the roadway.
Although the weather is clear now, forecasts show the potential for more snow in the area beginning early next week. Snow accumulation in the south Washington Cascades is not unusual this time of year, and drivers on SR 504 should be prepared for winter driving conditions.
View photos of crews clearing SR 504 on the WSDOT Flickr site.
For information about the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, please visit: www.fs.fed.us/gpnf/mshnvm/.
For weekly updates on this and other traffic information in the region, please visit: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Regions/SouthWest/Construction.
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