Highway crews set this start date for North Cascades Highway clearing

·1 min read
Washington State Department of Transportation /Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Those of us with a hankering for the warmer temperatures and extra sunshine of an Eastern Washington spring won’t have to wait much longer.

Clearing efforts on Highway 20, the northernmost North Cascades pass, will began Monday, March 27, the Washington State Department of Transportation said on its social media.

Snow measured 100 inches at the summit earlier this month and was down to about 80 inches last week, WSDOT said.

Highway 20, also called the North Cascades Highway, connects Whatcom and Skagit counties with the Okanogan County destination towns of Winthrop and Twisp, along with hiking and other recreation opportunities in the North Cascades National Park.

Because of avalanche danger from the high slopes of Washington Pass and Rainy Pass, the scenic road is closed in late fall near Diablo on the west side and Mazama on the east side.

It typically takes four to six weeks with crews using heavy equipment such as bulldozers, excavators and massive snow blowers to clear snow eight feet deep or more.

After the snow is cleared, WSDOT crews usually have to repair guardrails, patch potholes and fix places where the road washed out.