SR 20/North Cascades Highway to close Friday, Nov. 10

(DIABLO)– The final page will soon turn on State Route 20/North Cascades Highway this year. The winter gates will close at 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10 due to avalanche risk, and there will be one less route for vehicles crossing the Cascade Mountains.

Washington State Department of Transportation crews have plowed SR 20 between the gates at mileposts 134 near Diablo and 171 west of Mazama since snow began falling in early October. But new snow has continued to fill avalanche chutes. The forecast for more this weekend makes it too dangerous for crews to work or the public to drive below full avalanche zones.

“We know this route is popular for access to businesses, relatives and outdoor adventures,” said WSDOT Twisp Maintenance Supervisor Don Becker. “Our crews work hard to keep it open through the Thanksgiving weekend, but this year it isn’t possible due to the amount of snow in the forecast.”

The highway temporarily closed twice in the last three weeks due to snow accumulation in avalanche chutes.

This year’s closure is a week or so earlier than typical. Last year, the North Cascades Highway closed on Nov. 18. The only time the highway remained open through the winter was in 1976, when a drought produced record-low snowfall.