SR 20 Back Open After 3 Day Closure From Heavy Snow, Slides
State Route 20 is open after a three-day closure from heavy snow and the presence of snow and debris slides.
The Washington Department of Transportation initially announced the road would remain closed until at least Wednesday but reversed course.
WSDOT spokesperson Lauren Loebsack says crews were able to stabilize areas where there have been snow slides.
"It's cold enough or settled enough they were able to clear the slides and not see further material coming down, so those are the sorts of reasons why they made that decision," said Loebsack.
A 37 mile stretch of SR 20 was closed between the Ross Dam trailhead and Silver Star gate.
The reopening comes as crews are preparing for the roadway's annual shutdown during the winter months.
Loebsack says they still don't know when the long-term closure will come, but conditions aren't getting better.
"You're still heading into a mountain pass, getting into cold weather season," Loebsack said. "So, just because it's open doesn't mean that it's immune from wintery conditions. So, be prepared.”
Before the latest closure, SR 20 was closed on the previous weekend in November at Rainy Pass after a tanker truck carrying propane broke through a guardrail and went down an embankment.
SR 20 was shut down as snow came into the area and crews performed an ice control.
Another tanker truck had to be brought in to pump the fluid out of the truck down the embankment so it could be hoisted back up to the roadway.
For the seasonal shutdown, State Route 20 is initially closed between mileposts 134 and 171 every winter. When snowfall reaches lower elevations, the closure is extended from Newhalem gate (milepost 121) on the west side to Early Winters gate (milepost 178) on the east side.
The latest date SR 20 closed for the winter was January 10, 1990. It reopened on April 21 of that year.
The latest date the roadway reopened was June 14 in 1974.