Friday, March 27, 2009

North Cascades Highway

WSDOT says: "Weather dependent, the spring reopening effort will begin the 30th of March."

From their February visit:

The largest slides that close the highway every winter are below the Liberty Bell avalanche chutes, just east of Washington Pass. The highway passes directly beneath them, and then loops back to the east around what’s called Spiral Gulch.

The snow is 40 feet deep and stretches 1,200 feet across the pavement below Liberty Bell chutes 2 and 3. These slides came down with such force that they covered the highway on the opposite side of the gulch with snow that’s 25 feet deep and 1,200 feet wide.

Further east, the avalanche chutes along the Cutthroat Ridge zone had snow slides that were as much as 20 feet deep and 1,200 to 1,500 feet wide.

An anomaly for this season is a 40-foot deep slide near Bridge Creek, between Rainy and Washington passes. Our avalanche technician said he's never seen a slide there before.
How long will it take to dig out the 40'-deep avalanches? Will they be done in five days? Can I drive Highway 20 next weekend?

Can I?


1 comment:

Dustin Terpening said...

Thanks for sharing our Highway 20 update.

It's probably going to take a little longer than a week to clear all that snow. Wouldn't it be nice though if we could have it open by the following weekend? It's such an amazing drive, especially when the snow walls line the highway.

Dustin Terpening