[4/15/19] Reopening North Cascades Highway

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041519 Monday News Reopening the North Cascades Highway

Week three is in the books.  About 8 more miles of pavement got cleared and the east and west crews start this week only six miles apart.

On the west side, Department of Transportation snow removal crews made it to Milepost 154 (about 2 miles below Rainy Pass.)The snow depth on center line is 33 inches now. Snow is soft and the ice bottom is minimal. Additional crew members were down the mountain re-installing cement barriers along Ruby mountain which is 4 miles above Diablo Gate.

On the east side, the crew size declined as the D-6 caterpillar and the Avalanche crew’s Snow Cat were no longer needed – as a matter of fact, the whole avalanche team got to go home to Stevens Pass when the clearing was completed under the last four huge avalanche chutes under Liberty Bell Mountain.  From there, by Thursday, the clearing (two lanes wide) was complete past Washington Pass to the Blue Lake area.

Today, work begins with an excavator, two snow blowers, a loader, a grader and chain saws!  It’s not unusual to find and remove danger trees during the clearing, but the number of them this year is way up.

The crews will meet early next week and you can expect an opening day date and time to be set soon.

Watch and listen for it!