9/19/2014

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Local

Cayuse Pass set to reopen; Chinook Pass not far behind

WSDOT NEWS RELEASE -- A scenic spring and summer driving route through Mount Rainier National Park reopens in time for the warm and sunny weekend.

Washington State Department of Transportation crews spent more than two months working to clear avalanches, snow as deep as 12 feet, and removing debris from State Route 123 over Cayuse Pass (elev. 4,675 ft.). The hard work has paid off. Crews are scheduled to unlock the winter gates on State Route 410 at Crystal Mountain Boulevard and SR 123 near Stevens Canyon Road at noon, Friday, May 3. 

SR 123 over Cayuse Pass provides access to the east side of Mount Rainier and it is a popular and picturesque shortcut between Enumclaw and US 12.

The opening of SR 123 is coordinated with the National Park Service. WSDOT crews must clear the east entrances to Mount Rainier National Park, plow the roadways, install road signs and restore visitor facilities. Some roads and facilities within the park may still be closed. Visitors can check the Mount Rainier website for more information.

West side WSDOT crews are also working on clearing SR 410 from the Cayuse Pass summit over Chinook Pass (elev. 5,430 ft.). SR 410 remains closed over Chinook Pass from Morse Creek (five miles east of the summit) to Cayuse Pass. Maintenance crews started clearing from the east side of Chinook Pass in mid-April. Crews hope to reopen Chinook Pass by Memorial Day weekend.

WSDOT closes both passes each winter due to extreme avalanche danger.

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