North Cascades Highway opens today

Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) maintenance crews will open the North Cascades Highway (State Route 20) at 8 a.m. today, precisely as they predicted when they began work six weeks ago on March 24. When the gates swing open, drivers should find that road conditions are bare and dry or bare and wet across the entire route.
The forecast calls for more snow today and tomorrow with high temperatures only in the 30s. On Thursday the forecast calls for no snow and warmer temps.
WSDOT Twisp Maintenance Supervisor Don Becker set the reopening at 8 a.m., which gives the crews a couple hours to “sweep” the entire highway from Silver Star to Diablo and plow or clean up any snow which might have fallen overnight or any slough from avalanche chutes.
“An 8 a.m. Thursday opening provides the safety margin we need so the first drivers over the passes make their trip successfully,” Becker said.
East- and westside crews met east of Rainy Pass at 11 a.m. Monday. Widening and cutting safety pull-out areas are all that remains before the highway opens.
State Route 20 has been closed since Dec. 4. Over the past 10 years, the pass has opened to traffic between March 10 and May 7. The latest opening was June 14, 1974. Work to open the pass has taken as little as two weeks to as many as eight. The highway was never closed during the drought winter of ’76-77. Weekly updates, pictures and video of the annual spring opening are posted on the WSDOT SR 20 Web site — .