State Route 20/North Cascades Highway is set to reopen at least one more time in 2017. Following the second temporary closure in three weeks, the scenic highway is scheduled to open Tuesday, Nov. 7.
Washington State Department of Transportation maintenance crews assessed the highway today and will need to clear up to eight inches of snow along a 37-mile stretch of highway before reopening the road.
The gates closed at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 2, for the weekend due to the forecast of snow and avalanche danger. A temporary closure was also in place in October after a spell of heavy rain and snow caused slides in the area.
The steep peaks along this scenic highway have dozens of avalanche chutes that can quickly fill up with unstable snow – creating unsafe conditions for crews working or people driving along this stretch.
The pending seasonal closure date will depend on the weather, but historically happens close to Thanksgiving. Crews work to keep North Cascades Highway open as long as possible each season, but traveler and crew safety is the top priority.
Drivers should be prepared for possible winter driving conditions even after the highway reopens.