The North Cascades Highway had one of its earliest temporary closures on Sunday (Oct. 22) after an early season snowstorm sent several slides across the highway. Crews were clearing the slides Tuesday (Oct. 24) and expected the road to reopen Wednesday morning (Oct. 25).
The largest of six slides was below Liberty Bell Mountain, where snow was 12 ½ feet deep and 60 feet wide, said Don Becker, maintenance supervisor for Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) in Twisp. Front-end loaders were working to clear the snow below a chute known as Liberty Bell 3 on Tuesday. The Cascades received about three feet of snow at high elevations during the weekend storm, he said.
WSDOT has closed the highway in October only twice before — in 1994 and 2003. “We were hoping we didn’t have to do that this time because it’s so early,” Becker said. A forecast of clear, mostly dry weather was a factor in deciding to reopen the highway, he said.