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A tale of two passes: Cayuse closed for the season; Chinook reopens

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Date:  Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Contact:
Summer Derrey, WSDOT communications, 509-577-1943
Bart Treece, WSDOT communications, 206-440-4473
Donna Rahier, Mt. Rainier National Park, 360-569-6501

NACHES – A challenging combination of harsh weather and hazardous conditions led the Washington State Department of Transportation and the National Park Service to determine that State Route 123 Cayuse Pass will remain closed for the season. Conditions for clearing Chinook Pass along State Route 410 are more favorable, and the roadway is on schedule to reopen at noon, Wednesday, Nov. 20.

“Weather permitting, we try to keep Chinook open as long as safely possible,” said Dan Floyd, WSDOT assistant regional administrator for maintenance.

SR 123 through Cayuse Pass is closed at the summit to the Mount Rainier National Park entrance at Stevens Canyon Road. Crystal Mountain Ski Resort is still accessible on SR 410.

Driver heading to higher elevations should be prepared for winter conditions across the mountain passes.

Typically in November each year, WSDOT closes Chinook and Cayuse passes due to hazardous driving conditions. Avalanche danger, mountainous terrain and lack of cell phone service make for dangerous winter driving.


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