NEWHALEM - North Cascades Highway opened Tuesday, April 16, in time for fishing season and almost a month earlier than last year.
Relatively light snowfall over the winter enabled crews to clear Highway 20 from milepost 134 to milepost 171 in three weeks. Workers used heavy equipment to clear snow piled as high as 35 feet.
The 37-mile stretch of highway, which includes two high-elevation passes, closed for the season on Nov. 20, 2012. It opened at 1 p.m. Tuesday in mild weather.
Last spring, the highway opened on May 10 - too late for the start of lowland fishing season on the last weekend in April.
Opening dates have ranged from March 10, 2005, to June 14, 1974. Since opening in 1972, the highway stayed open all winter once, in 1976-77.