SR 20 - 2008 North Cascades opening
WSDOT maintenance crews opened the North Cascades Highway (SR 20) at 8 a.m. May 1, precisely as predicted when they began clearing the pass six weeks ago.

Crews started the clearing effort six weeks ago, on March 24. East and west side crews met near Rainy Pass on Monday. Widening and cutting safety pull out areas and monitoring stability of the new snow that fell over the past three days, kept crews busy until the gates opened.

Twisp Maintenance Supervisor Don Becker said, “We found lots of rocks and tree debris in the avalanche zones which made using the snow blowers impossible. We had to use the loaders and excavators and clear the snow all the way to pavement, one scoop at a time at those locations.” “We always plan for some equipment breakdowns, and weather delays, and we got some, but nothing that seriously held up the clearing process.

It was the crew that played the biggest part in keeping the schedule. Their work was outstanding”. Becker, who has directed the reopening effort for the past 13 years said, “Every year is different, but the crew was committed to getting the road open by the first of May.”

We close the highway each winter, when snow and avalanche danger threaten the safety of drivers and our maintenance crews. The closure points are at milepost 134 on the west side, six miles east of Diablo Dam, and milepost 178 on the east side, seven miles west of Mazama at the Early Winters Information Center. Historically, we close the highway between late November and mid December and reopen it in the spring between late March and early May.

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Wenatchee World photographer Don Seabrook has a great photo essay posted at:
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