WENATCHEE – The North Cascades Highway (SR 20) is officially closed for the season after a storm dumped 2 feet of new snow and significantly increased avalanche danger.
Avalanche experts and maintenance crews with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) found a foot of new snow at the closure gates and twice that at higher elevations when they took a trip up the highway Wednesday, Dec. 1. Crews also found several snow slides across the highway.
With another snow storm forecasted for later this week, WSDOT determined that it would be too dangerous to try and reopen the highway.
The highway is closed between milepost 134, seven miles east of Diablo Dam on the west side of 4,855’ Rainy Pass, and milepost 171, nine miles west of Mazama on the east side of 5,477’ Washington Pass.
WSDOT first temporarily closed the highway at 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 29, in advance of the snow storm.
The highway closed Nov. 17, last year, following two temporary closures earlier in the month. Last spring, the highway opened April 16. Typically, the highway is closed by avalanches between the week before Thanksgiving and the middle of December. There was one drought year, four years after the highway opened in 1976, when it stayed open all winter.
Visit the North Cascades web page: www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/passes/northcascades
and the North Cascades Flickr - photo site: www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/sets/72157623371473447/
WSDOT keeps people, businesses and the economy moving by operating and improving the state's transportation systems. To learn more about what we're doing, including pictures, videos, news and blogs go to www.wsdot.wa.gov/news. Get real time weather, traffic, construction alerts, pass conditions, ferry, railroad, and airline information at www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic or dial 5-1-1. TTY users - call 1-800-833-6388. This news release is available electronically on the web at: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Regions/NorthCentral/news/