State Highway 20, the northernmost mountain pass connecting Eastern and Western Washington, is set to open, the Washington State Department of Transportation said.
In a tweet, WSDOT said the highway will open at 10 a.m. Tuesday, May 10.
“It was a weird season with more snow at the end than we had in the beginning, but the clearing team stayed persistent,” WSDOT tweeted Monday, May 9.
Highway 20, called the North Cascades Highway, connects the Skagit Valley with the Methow Valley over the high peaks of the North Cascades National Park.
A 37-mile section of the road closes to cars every fall east of Newhalem and west of Winthrop because of heavy snow that creates avalanche conditions.
It closed last year after significant snowfall on Nov. 10.
Records show that the road usually opens sometime from early April to early May.
“Our crews clear the road and shoulder and any pullout areas needed for our maintenance work, but otherwise, it is still wintery up in the mountains,” WSDIOT said in a statement.
“Spring and early summer avalanche potential remains. Those venturing into the backcountry should be trained and prepared,” WSDOT said.
Clearing efforts began March 28 and typically take four to six weeks with crews using heavy equipment such as bulldozers, excavators and massive snow blowers to clear snow eight feet deep or more.
After the snow is cleared, WSDOT crews usually have to repair guardrails, patch potholes and fix places where the road washed out.