Just in time for a hot, hot weekend, the last closed section of Mountain Loop Highway is reopening, according to Snohomish County Public Works.
The 12-mile unpaved section from Barlow Pass to the Bedal Campground was set to open at 4 p.m. Thursday, according to a news release.
“We are pleased to be opening this section in time for the high record-breaking lowland temperatures this weekend,” Snohomish County Public Works Director Kelly Snyder said. “Despite dealing with some inclement weather at higher elevations, our crews worked hard to get the middle gravel section of the highway ready for public use. We know there will be many residents happy to escape to this beautiful and very popular outdoor destination this weekend.”
In the past month, crews did “significant” drainage work in some sections of the road, filled potholes and cleared downed trees.
It’s going to be historically hot.
Temperatures in Snohomish County are expected to get into the 90s this weekend, according the National Weather Service, and some places in the Cascade range will breach the 100s.
The weather service warned there will be increased fire danger, due to the hot, dry conditions and the increasing number of people having fires outside.
The Snohomish County Fire Marshal announced an outdoor burn ban on Thursday. Under it, recreational fires “for cooking and pleasure only” are still allowed. Those must be less than 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide, and contained in a fire pit that has been cleared of “all combustible material” within a 10-foot radius. Fires must be monitored at all times, and must have a water source readily available, such as a hose or a bucket.
“We urge the public to use great caution before lighting any recreational fires since wildfires are a significant risk across the region,” says the news release from Snohomish County Fire Marshal Michael McCrary. “If you have any doubts about safety, please don’t burn.”
The Mountain Loop Highway had been closed for the season since December. During the summer, an average of more than 100 cars use the route each day, with up to 200 vehicles on the weekends.
Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @zachariahtb.