Treacherous route no emergency exit

In the Friday article in The Herald on the re-opening of the Mountain Loop Highway, Darrington District Ranger Peter Forbes referred to the Mountain Loop Highway as, “a back-door, emergency exit route” for Darrington. I am left to wonder exactly what type of emergency Mr. Forbes had in mind that would use the Mountain Loop Highway as a designated evacuation route for the Town of Darrington.

The Mountain Loop Highway is normally closed for about half the year from around November through April, precluding its use as an evacuation route in winter. The Mountain Loop is notorious for its frequent costly washouts, poor maintenance, and the structurally deficient bridges, such as the Bedal Creek Bridge. So using the Mountain Loop as a designated evacuation route for the town during a major storm could be extremely dangerous.

Perhaps Mr. Forbes was referring to a possible volcanic eruption of Glacier Peak. Checking the volcanic hazards map at the USGS Web site, the evacuees using the Mountain Loop would not only be routed deeper into the Lahar Hazard Zone, but also into the red Blast Zone and very near the Pyroclastic Surge Zone, which is also not a very wise choice as an evacuation route.

So, unless one is worried about U.N. troops massing at the Canadian border and getting ready to invade Darrington, persons in responsible charge should not be making foolish and irresponsible evacuation recommendations to the public that will place them in harm’s way.

William Lider

Lynnwood

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