Work gets another road near to opening
CRAIG HILL AND JEFFREY P. MAYOR; The News Tribune
Highway 123 on the east side of Mount Rainier could reopen Sept. 28, Mount Rainier National Park officials said last week.
The estimated opening date is contingent on weather favorable enough for crews to complete the work.
The highway that runs along the eastern edge of the park was washed out in several place during flooding on Nov. 6-7, 2006. Its closure left the park with no easy route between Paradise and Sunrise – the park’s two most popular destinations.
However, even when the road reopens, you won’t be able to drive between Paradise and Sunrise in the park because Stevens Canyon Road will be closed Sept. 20 to Oct. 26 for repair. The road is currently open, but vehicles must alternate using one lane near the Stevens Canyon entrance station.
The park will soon announce the contract to repair Stevens Canyon Road will be awarded to Cherokee Joint Venture of North Bonneville.
While much of the focus this year has been on flood recovery, work has continued on the $35 million effort to renovate Paradise Inn and build a new visitor center at Paradise.
“We were behind a few months ago, up to 22 days behind, but we’re getting close to being back on schedule,” said Eric Walkinshaw, the park’s project manager. “It was primarily the weather we had last winter and not being able to get up there for a few weeks.”
Crews have enclosed the inn and are working to get the roof on the visitor center before winter. Paving of the parking lot near the inn was to be done Monday.
The inn is scheduled to reopen in May and the new visitor center is to be completed in August and open in September. The existing Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center will be torn done after that.
If you want to keep track of the progress on the visitor center, check on the Web cam at mms.nps.gov/mora/cam/newvc