Mudslide Cleanup Closes North Cascades Hwy Until Weekend Or Longer

By Tom Banse

Washington's Department of Transportation doesn't know yet what day the North Cascades Highway will reopen. Intense thunderstorms over the weekend unleashed eight mudslides that have closed the northernmost route across the Cascade Range. Wash-dot spokesperson Jeff Adamson says optimism is rising now that big bulldozers and other heavy equipment has arrived.

This is one of eight mudslides across SR 20, the North Cascades Highway. WSDOT photo.He says his agency awarded an emergency contract Monday night to get more muscle on scene.

Jeff Adamson: "One of these eight slides is a quarter mile long and it's got 25 feet of mud, trees and boulders across two lanes of highway. That's just not something you attack with a 5-yard loader and a dump truck."

Adamson they'd like to reopen Highway 20 by this weekend but it could take until next week.

The highway is closed from just past the Diablo Lake overlook on the west side to Rainy Pass. Adamson says trailheads at Rainy Pass and the Pacific Crest Trail are accessible from the east.

About 65 hikers who were stranded at a trailhead by a separate washout in North Cascades National Park got out Monday. The park service says foot traffic can travel the temporarily repaired gravel road to Cascade Pass now, but not cars for the time being.

Photo: This is one of eight mudslides across SR 20, the North Cascades Highway. WSDOT photo.

SR 20 - North Cascades Highway status (WSDOT):

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/passes/northcascades

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