Crews reopened the North Cascades Pass on Friday morning. Cayuse and Chinook passes opened on Thursday.
Crews reopened the North Cascades Pass Friday morning, The Washington State Department of Transportation said in a news release. Reopening efforts took just three weeks, among the shortest reopening efforts in the highway’s 42-year history, WSDOT said.
The earliest opening ever was on March 10, 2005, but two weeks later snow closed the highway for another 10 days, reopening again on April 4, according to WSDOT. In 1977 the highway never closed because of a drought.
Chinook Pass on Highway 410 and Cayuse Pass on Highway 123 reopened Thursday afternoon, a historically early opening date for the Cascade Mountain passes after a mild winter.
Thursday is the earliest reopening day for Chinook Pass and the second-earliest for Cayuse Pass, according to WSDOT. Crews started clearing the roadways ahead of schedule because of mild weather and were able to condense three months of work into a few weeks.The passes were originally scheduled to reopen Friday morning.
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Chinook Pass usually reopens in May, and Cayuse Pass in April.
Drivers should be aware that unpredictable storms and avalanche danger may prompt the highways to close with little to no warning. Backcountry recreationists are advised to avoid areas directly adjacent to the highway.
Road access and trailhead parking will be available on both highways through Mount Rainier National Park, which will extend access from Highway 123 to the Grove of the Patriarchs Trail, according to the transportation department.