Saturday, April 23, 2011

Latest North Cascades Pass Update - 4/22

Days 6-7-8 (end of Week 2), April 19-21, 2011
The clearing effort grew and increased in productivity with the addition of the D-6 caterpillar and the giant Kodiak snow blower from Stevens Pass. By Thursday afternoon, the highway was cleared fog line to fog line to Cutthroat Creek at Milepost 167, which translates to 16 miles for the first two weeks.
Not everything went well this week – Wednesday saw some delays with a flat tire on the road grader and then an air pressure issue with the Kodiak. Both were dealt with pretty quickly considering it takes a trip back and forth to Twisp just to fix a flat tire.

Don Becker, the Twisp Maintenance Supervisor who oversees the reopening effort every year says it was cold and overcast Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday, it snowed all day.

The Westside crew has cleared the highway, fog line to fog line all the way to MP 150, about two miles beyond the Granite Creek Bridge (which is the boundary between the west and east regions, as if it mattered to anybody but us!) Snow depth where they’ll start Monday is about 5-1/2 feet. That crew is working with a loader-mounted snow blower, a loader and a plow. (3 new photos, posted) They cleared about ten miles from the Diablo Gate east, the first week. This week they started at MP 145 where there was about 2 feet of snow, but the clean up of the Ruby Mountain slide, as well as all the pull outs limited progress to five miles.

When work resumes on Monday on the eastside, the avalanche crew has to be there to monitor slope stability as the crew begins work below the first of the major slides at the east end of Cutthroat Ridge (CR #1). Assuming it’s safe to work, Pipkin Construction’s D-8 caterpillar and operator, along with the avalanche crew’s Pisten Bully Snow Cat and an excavator from Wenatchee, will join the D-6 cat, the Kodiak, the loader and the grader. (We may need a traffic control plan…)

Don included 7 new photos (That’s Jason Newman fueling and driving the grader).

Two more notes – Winthrop’s 49’er Days celebration is scheduled as usual for the first weekend in May (6-7-8) and while the highway won’t be open – you’re invited to drive around and be assured it will be as much as ever. (Note: This is only the 3rd time in 35 years the highway wasn’t open for 49’er Days).

You will also want to check out the changes Dustin and I made to the NCH home page – it cleaned up the left column and put the camera thumbnails in the right column. The weather stations, forecasts and links to the recreation agencies now have their own page.

Despite the forecast for more late-season snow, we remain optimistic that the opening will proceed smoothly, (and I’m not even going to respond to the e mail I got about whether we can have the highway open before the legislature adjourns…)

Jeff Adamson (509) 667-2815

Link to the WSDOT Flickr page:

Link to Spring Reopening Page:

Link to the NCH Home page:

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