North Cascades Highway: WSDOT Begins Clearing for Spring Opening

North Cascades Highway: WSDOT Begins Clearing for Spring Opening

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

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). 

Follow the reopening work: 

• North Cascades Highway webpage
• WSDOT Facebook 
• WSDOT East Twitter account
• Sign up to get the North Cascades Highway email updates

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

Hyperlinks within the release: 

• North Cascades Highway webpage: www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/passes/northcascades/  
• WSDOT Facebook: www.facebook.com/wsdot  
• WSDOT East Twitter: https://twitter.com/wsdot_east  
• North Cascades Highway email updates: 
https://service.govdelivery.com/accounts/WADOT/subscriber/new?topic_id=WADOT_17 
• Liberty Bell avalanche zone: www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/5242152485/in/photostream/  
• Open/Close history: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Traffic/Passes/NorthCascades/closurehistory.htm 

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