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Cayuse Pass opening delayed until Tuesday

Post by Jeff Mayor / The News Tribune on May 4, 2012 at 9:18 am with No Comments »
May 4, 2012 1:55 pm

Crews from Washington State Department of Transportation hope to open at noon on Tuesday Cayuse Pass, on state Route 123 on the eastside of Mount Rainier National Park. That is, if the weather allows.

They had hoped to open the pass today, but Thursday’s storm brought more than 6 inches of new snow to the area, forcing the delay.

Plow crews broke a path over the pass more than two weeks ago, but have been working to clear the remaining snow from the roadway. At the pass, snow was at least 12 feet deep, said Kris Olsen, department spokeswoman.

In addition to clearing the snow, national park staffers have to reinstall traffic signs before the roadway can reopen, Olsen said.

Last year, the opening was delayed until May 26 because of a series of spring snowstorms that hit the park just as crews were beginning to clear the road.

The pass has been closed since Nov. 11 when it was temporarily shut following an early season snow storm. When staffers checked conditions, it was decided to keep it closed because there was too much snow to clear.

Meanwhile, Olsen said, the goal is to open by Memorial Day Weekend Chinook Pass on state Route 410 in the park’s northeast corner. Last year, the late storms delayed the opening until June 13.

The goal is to open the North Cascades Highway on Thursday.

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