north cascades

Snow covers the North Cascades Highway in November 2019, about two weeks before the highway closed for the season.

MAZAMA – Efforts to clear the North Cascades Highway have been suspended because of COVID-19 safety concerns.

Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar suspended most maintenance work on March 26 and implemented an “essential maintenance” approach to comply with Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay home, stay healthy order.

“Under these guidelines, we have paused most maintenance across the state, including work to reopen the North Cascades Highway,” said a department announcement. “Similar work pauses are occurring on Cayuse and Chinook passes.”

The highway remains a valuable route for the movement of goods and as an alternative evacuation route in the case of natural disaster. A date to return to normal maintenance work has not yet been determined.

Clearing work started Monday, March 23, at Early Winters Campground near Mazama. Blower work had cut out both lanes to milepost 173, then a single lane to milepost 172. A thick layer of ice remains on the uncovered pavement.

The west side closure point is milepost 130 (Colonial Creek Campground). The east side closure point is milepost 177 (Early Winters Campground).

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