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Road to Paradise open today and Thursday

Post by Jeff Mayor / The News Tribune on Jan. 21, 2009 at 12:06 pm with No Comments »
January 21, 2009 12:06 pm

Quick, head for the mountain. The road to Paradise is open this afternoon and tomorrow.

Thanks to near perfect weather conditions at Mount Rainier National Park — alhtough it’s hard to tell from fog-bound Tacoma — the road to the popular winter play area is temporarily open on weekdays.

Park officials announced last week that the road to Paradise would be open only on weekends and holidays because of a slide that took out one lane of the road on Glacier Hill.

But sunny skies and warm temperatures are allowing the park to open the road at least for today and tomorrow.

Drivers should watch for stop signs or other traffic controls that will be used to get vehicles through the damaged area. About 100 feet of roadway slid 30 to 40 feet on the hill above the Nisqually River bridge.

The park is stationing flaggers above and below the slide to control traffic on weekends and holidays, when there is more traffic. Acting superintendent Randy King said the road would be closed weekdays because the park didn’t have the money to have flaggers there seven days a week.

On Wednesday morning, the park announced the change.

"When the weather conditions are pretty much perfect, they will open the road on weekdays," said spokeswoman Patti Wold.

That means weekday visitors shouldn’t get their hopes too high. Springlike conditions at Paradise — highs in the upper 50s and low 60s — have allowed this opening.

"Under normal winter conditions, we likely won’t open the road on a weekday," Wold said. "It’s just too dangerous with rock fall and avalanche dangers."

Park visitors can call 360-569-2211 for the latest road conditions. Wold said she also is building a Web page to allow visitors to check on the road’s status.

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