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North Cascades Highway scheduled to close November 15 for winter


Ross Lake, North Cascades National Park. Associated Press photo.

Every year State Route 20, North Cascades Highway, closes around mid-November for the winter. In a media release, Washington State Department of Transportation announced October 27 the road that connects Whatcom and Skagit counties with Eastern Washington is scheduled to close November 15, but may close earlier depending on the amount of snow and ice that arrives beforehand.

“In the past, the seasonal closure date has been assessed on a case-by-case basis,” the release read. “While there is a chance the highway may close earlier than Nov. 15, WSDOT is setting a closure date this year to allow travelers to plan ahead with more certainty.”

The closure on the west side will be at milepost 134, east of Newhalem at the Ross Dam Trailhead, and milepost 171, at the Silver Star Mountain gate, on the east side. Before the closure, crews will perform winter maintenance as needed and will regularly assess conditions to determine whether the highway is safe to remain open, the release says.

Winter recreationists can still access the closed portion of the highway during winter. WSDOT asks hikers, skier and snowmobilers to park in designated parking areas to allow plow drives the space they need to clear snow around the closed road’s access gates.

Those traveling to Eastern Washing during the winter months can use U.S. 2 while the North Cascades Highway closure is in place.

WSDOT typically reopens the mountain pass in early May.


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