The North Cascades Highway (State Route 20) reopened on Monday, August 19 at 10 AM. Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) maintenance crews opened the gates and removed the barricades to restore travel between the Skagit and Methow Valleys.
Crews have been working since August 11 to clear 30,000 cubic yards (3,000 dump truck loads) of mud, boulders, trees and debris. Two mudslides closed SR 20 two miles west of Rainy Pass on August 10 at 9:30 PM due to heavy rain, hail and high winds. By Sunday, eight slides in a six-mile stretch between Mile Posts 149 and 155 covered the highway -- at depths ranging from 3-25 feet and up to 1/4 mile wide.
In addition to clearing the highway, WSDOT crews had to repair pavement, drainage and guard rail before the road was safe to reopen. When traffic resumes Monday morning, crews will continue to work on drainage and slope stabilization. Travelers should expect to encounter orange cones, signs and other traffic controls along the route during the next several weeks. Short delays will be a result of crews working on drainage and the slopes on both sides of the highway. Photos of the slides and cleanup are on the WSDOT Flickr website.