By Bill Sheets Herald Writer
More closures are planned in Monroe this week as part of the repaving of Highway 203.
Work recently began on the $5.7 million project to repave the highway from Monroe to Carnation.
This week, crews plan to close shoulders and sidewalks in Monroe and Carnation from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day for work on sidewalk improvements.
Drivers can expect single-lane closures along the route from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day through the end of the month for survey work.
Paving is scheduled to begin in late spring or summer.
Studded tire deadline approaches
The deadline for removing studded tires is midnight, March 31. Unless the state grants a weather-related extension, studded tires are legal only from Nov. 1 to March 31. For more information, go to www.wsdot.wa.gov/winter/studtire/.
Work to reopen North Cascades begins March 31
Crews working for the state plan to begin clearing the North Cascades Highway at the end of this month in hopes Highway 20 can open in early May.
“Last year it took us less than four weeks to clear the highway, but this year there’s twice as much snow at the summit,” said Mike Stanford, an avalanche control supervisor for the state Department of Transportation. “It’s likely to take closer to the usual six weeks to reopen this year.”
The state closed the highway for the winter on Dec. 3. The highway typically reopens between mid-April and early May.
Avalanche-control specialists and maintenance technicians recently toured the North Cascades Highway from the Early Winters information center near Mazama to Washington Pass using a snowcat, according to the state.
Along the way, they stopped to measure snow depths at two dozen sites. Snow at the summit of Washington Pass measured almost 10 feet, which is double the depth of last year. Snow on the highway below the Liberty Bell avalanche chutes averaged 35 feet deep.
Crews observed conditions similar to those they encountered in 2011, when it took approximately six weeks to clear and reopen the highway, state officials said.
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