The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) announced Tuesday (No. 27) that the North Cascades Highway will close for the season at 4 p.m. on Wednesday (Nov. 28).
WSDOT said in a press release that many of the avalanche chutes have filled on the 37-mile stretch of the highway that is closed for the winter, making the highway potentially dangerous.
Gates will be closed at mileposts 134 and 171, WSDOT said. That section of the highway will remain closed until sometime in spring 2019 when the snow stops falling and melts enough to make it safe for maintenance crews to plow the road.
Snowshoers, cross-country skiers, fat bikers or snowmobilers can access the closed area throughout the winter. Parking is available near each closed gate. Anyone choosing to use the area should know the conditions, including avalanche risks, watch the forecast and bring proper gear.
Later this winter, once there is significant snowfall, the gate closures will expand, WSDOT said. In the Diablo area, the closure will move back to milepost 130, on or after Jan. 2, 2019. The closure in Mazama will move back to milepost 178 once the snow is too deep for snow blowers. There will still be parking available at both closure locations.
In 2017, the highway was closed on Nov. 10. It reopened on May 11 of this year.