North Cascades Highway closed for winter

The North Cascades Highway has closed for the winter.

The state Department of Transportation temporarily closed the highway on Sunday due to heavy snowfall and high winds. After reassessing the situation today, department officials decided it was safest to close the road for the season.

“It doesn’t take much snow to fill up the avalanche chutes, and we’d be taking a risk if we tried to keep the road open any longer,” said Don Becker, a maintenance supervisor for the department.

Slides below the Liberty Bell avalanche chutes, just east of Washington Pass, have been dumping snow onto the highway since Sunday, according to the department. The largest slide was 12 feet deep and 150 feet wide.

“It’s just not safe for our crews or the public to be up on the highway,” Becker added.

Last year, the state closed the North Cascades Highway for the season on Nov. 20. The 37-mile-long winter closure zone begins seven miles east of Diablo Dam at milepost 134 on the west side of Rainy Pass (elevation 4,855 feet) and ends nine miles west of Mazama at milepost 171 below Washington Pass (elevation 5,477 feet).

Last spring, the highway reopened on April 16. The state typically reopens the highway between the last week of March and the first week of May. The earliest opening was in 2006 on March 10. In 1976, a drought year, it remained open all winter.

E-mail us at streetsmarts@heraldnet.com. Please include your city of residence.

Look for updates on our Street Smarts blog at www.heraldnet.com/streetsmarts.

More in Local News

‘Come talk to me. Don’t jump, come talk to me’

State Patrol trooper Yaroslav Holodkov just happened to be driving by when he saw a suicidal man.

Marysville educators reach out to a newly traumatized school

Several affected by shootings in 2014 offered to talk with counterparts in Eastern Washington.

Serial killer wannabe admits trying to kill man she met online

She told police she planned to rip out her victim’s heart and eat it — and would continue killing.

Hurry! Target will take your old car seat, but not for long

The seats will be taken apart and the various materials recycled.

Sheriff’s Office receives national recognition

Sheriff accepts award “notable achievements in the field of highway safety” over the past year.

Edmonds-Woodway High School briefly locked down

A student tried to stop a fight and a boy, 16, responded by threatening the student with a knife.

Study considers making it legal to grow marijuana at home

The Liquor and Cannabis Board is considering two scenarios for allowing a minimal number of plants.

Minutes mattered the day Pat Ward was brought back to life

The Mukilteo police and fire chaplain died at breakfast. She got a second chance thanks to a waitress.

Hot weather takes toll on young Christmas trees

The effect is likely to be felt in the years to come when they would have been cut.

Most Read