Local Information

SR 20 North Cascades Highway clearing begins

Friday, March 18, 2016 - 14:23

Jeff Adamson, WSDOT communications, 509-667-2815

 

TWISP – There’s good news for drivers of Washington’s northern-most Cascade mountain pass – crews are beginning efforts to reopen the North Cascades Highway.

Work from the west started Thursday, March 17; east side work begins Monday, March 21. Based on the start date and conditions, crews are optimistic that State Route 20 could be open in six weeks. Progress on the annual reopening effort remains weather dependent.

On Thursday, the total snow at the Washington Pass summit was 120 inches, or 10 feet, deep.

The North Cascades have had a more “normal” snowpack than last year. However, in some spots debris on the road is deeper than seen in years. In addition, the usual spring avalanche cycle has not yet taken place. When that snow does slide, it can affect the clearing effort, especially below Liberty Bell Mountain where the avalanche chute starting zones are at 7,000 feet (2,000 feet above the roadway).

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WSDOT closed the highway for the winter on Nov. 16, 2015. Last year the highway opened very early on April 3.

 

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