If you were making plans for one last road trip on the North Cascades Highway this weekend, forget about it. State transportation officials said they will close the scenic route for the season on Friday.
More snow in Okanogan County and the risk of avalanches on the 37-mile stretch of mountain highway, also known as state Route 20, led to the closure. Snowmobilers, hikers and skiers can still use the roadway behind the closure gates this winter, but they do so at their own risk, Washington State Department of Transportation said.
Crews have plowed the stretch between Diablo and Mazama since snow began falling in early October, but the forecast for more snow makes it too dangerous for workers and travelers.
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“Our crews work hard to keep it open through the Thanksgiving weekend, but this year it isn’t possible due to the amount of snow in the forecast,” said Don Becker, WSDOT maintenance supervisor in Twisp.
The scenic highway, which connects Whatcom and Skagit counties with Okanogan County, has been closed twice in the past three weeks, but reopened Tuesday.