Day one reopening SR 20 – North Cascades Highway - Ruby Ridge avalanche chute #10. Photo courtesy WSDOT

Day one reopening SR 20 (April 1, 2014) – North Cascades Highway – Ruby Ridge avalanche chute #10. Photo courtesy WSDOT

As scheduled, crews from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) began clearing deep snow off of Highway 20 on Monday (March 31) in hopes of opening the North Cascades Highway in four to six weeks.

Crews from the Methow Valley side began clearing work at the Early Winters Information Center (milepost 178), where the winter closure barricades were in place, according to a WSDOT press release.  The first goal will be to open lanes for the eight miles to Silver Star Gate.

By the end of Tuesday (April 1), crews had cleared seven miles, two snow-widths wide, WSDOT said. Work will continue this week on clearing shoulders and pull-outs.

Working this week with the clearing crew from Twisp were Tyler Miller, Ryan Smith, Jason Newman and Jesse Gurney, WSDOT said.

Work from the west started has also started from Diablo Gate.

During an assessment trip in mid-March, WSDOT’s avalanche team found nearly 10 feet of snow at the summit of Washington Pass and 35 feet below the Liberty Bell avalanche chutes.

The highway was closed for the winter on Dec. 3, 2013.

For updated information, go to www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/passes/northcascades.

Avalanche chutes along SR20. Photo Courtesy of WSDOT

Avalanche chutes along SR20. Photo Courtesy of WSDOT