After a month of work clearing the North Cascades Scenic Highway for vehicle traffic, Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) crews working from the Methow Valley side have about 6 miles left to clear of snow.
As of last Friday (April 28), the workers had reached Swamp Creek near milepost 154, WSDOT said in a press released. From the west side the road remains cleared to milepost 148. The road closure points remain at milepost 134 on the west side and milepost 178 on the east side, WSDOT said.
While the gap has narrowed, WSDOT said, “There’s also plenty of snow still in the loading zones of the avalanche paths and a round of avalanche control is scheduled for [this] week. Warm weather is melting the snow and helping the cause, but it also creates high avalanche danger conditions that limit the time crews can work in certain areas. It’s tough to say when exactly the road will be open. There are always some finishing touches to the reopening work that may or may not go smoothly, so pinning the exact date down is a tricky call. If weather and equipment cooperate, the highway will be open by Mother’s Day.”
Meanwhile, bicyclists can ride beyond the closure points during weekends when the crews are not working.
WSDOT reminded motorists that even when the highway opens, most National Parks and U.S. Forest Service facilities are closed to the public until later in the spring.
Clearing the highway began on March 27. Clearing the road for vehicles typically takes six to eight weeks to not only clear the road but also make necessary repairs and ensure that the avalanche chutes at Washington Pass are safe.
The highway was closed to traffic for the season on Nov. 8, 2022, between milepost 134 and 178 (Ross Dam Trailhead to Early Winters gate). In 2022, highway clearing began March 28 and the road opened on May 10.
The clearing crews will be working Monday through Thursday, and WSDOT asks that recreationists wait until the weekend to use the cleared portions of the highway.