Washington state’s northernmost pass over the North Cascades will stay closed until spring, state highway officials said Tuesday, Nov. 8.
“North Cascades Highway will remain closed for the winter between Ross Lake Dam trailhead (milepost 134) and Early Winters gate (milepost 178),” the Washington State Department of Transportation said in an emailed statement.
The scenic mountain pass, which just marked its 50th anniversary, was closed last week because of avalanche danger as an atmospheric river was set to drop a deluge of rain atop several feet of snow that fell in late October and early November.
That’s a recipe for disaster on the highway, which snakes between steep slopes from Diablo near the western summit to Winthrop in Eastern Washington.
WSDOT thought the closure could be temporary, but 2 feet or more of snow fell last weekend over the mountains.
“Though the immediate avalanche danger is now low, conditions are likely to change. Maintaining the closure now will allow crews to focus time and resources on the communities east of the mountain passes that have received up to 2 feet of snow in places,” WSDOT said.
North Cascades Highway, also called Highway 20, state Route 20 or SR20, links Whatcom and Skagit counties to Eastern Washington.
The mountain pass generally closes in late fall because of heavy snowfall and reopens in spring, usually between April and June.
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