Opinion Columns & Blogs

North Cascades Highway closer to reopening

At the close of the work week Thursday, April 17 - about three weeks into the effort - Washington State Department of Transportation's east and west snow removal crews were separated by just nine miles of the snow-covered North Cascades Highway.

The west-slope crew reported getting to Swamp Creek in five feet of snow at milepost 154 just three miles from Rainy Pass, while their counterparts on the east slope reported baring pavement up to about milepost 163 and a 35-foot deep avalanche plume under Liberty Bell Mountain.

Heavy equipment engaged in the attack on the east slope includes a purpose-built, mobile snow-blower, a track excavator, two large bulldozers and a sno-cat. West-side snow removal involves a snowblower that attaches to a front-end loader and truck snow plows.

A foot of snow is forecast to fall in the next day or so during which time avalanche hazards also will increase.

For photos of the ongoing work, go to the DOT's Flickr page at flickr.com/photos/wsdot/sets/72157642267729715.

This blog post was updated Friday, April 18.