Well this year it looks like the Cascades won't be opening up till the May long weekend and that is a guesstimate. They started to clear the Cascades last week. Here is a piece of correspondence I got a few days ago from the WSDOT head of operations for the clearing of the Cascades...The 3 photos below are an aerial shot of the Liberty Bell area with the decreasing radius turn that we know all so well. Note the avalanche areas. Second photo is the stretch of road approaching Liberty Bell. In the foreground on the right is the spot where a lot of people generally stop to watch the mayhem below in the corkscrew. Lots of snow. Third is a shot taken on day 4 of the clearing effort.On Tuesday, the eastside crew hit the starting zone (Early Winters) and it was only 14 degrees due to the clear skies (and no new snow all day!) That also meant that by 3 p.m., it was 36 degrees – almost balmy! Don Becker reports that the loader-mounted-blower worked well, and was able to clear off all the snow they broke up Monday to about halfway between Early Winters and Silver Star Gate (where the V-Plow established a cut through on Monday.) That’s Duane Wolley behind the wheel of the loader/blower in the photos. He’ll pick up where he left off. The party consisted of three players most of the day – the blower, a grader and the V-Plow. The plan to push on to Lone Fir Campground got held up with a new snow slide in a location Don has not seen come down in his 2+ decades on the North Cascades – off Silver Star Mtn. – and it came all the way to the road at MP 171 near the gate.
On the Westside, Kim Glass tells Dustin that his crew used snow plows to cut through from the Diablo Gate (MP 134) to about halfway between Canyon Creek and East Creek at MP 143 on Monday. Tuesday they worked clearing the ditches through that section to handle the snow melt and the rain that’s coming.
It has also been brought to my attention that today is April 13 and that it was April 16, last year when Tootsie was serving coffee and cinnamon rolls to those of you in line, waiting for the gate to swing open. What a difference 50+ feet of snow makes!
Here are three more pictures of the eastside work on day 2, featuring the loader mounted blower: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/s...7626170712679/
The Flickr photostream on the clearing process can be found here...