North Cascades Highway is closing for winter

Early season snow means an early closure for the North Cascades Highway.

State Route 20 will close at 4 p.m. Friday, a week sooner than it did last year. The closure will be from milepost 132 near Diablo to milepost 171 near Mazama.

“Our crews work hard to keep it open through Thanksgiving weekend, but this year it isn’t possible due to the amount of snow in the forecast,” said Don Becker, a maintenance supervisor with the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Crews have been working to keep the highway clear of snow since early October, but Becker said the avalanche chutes surrounding SR 20 keep filling in and making it too dangerous for workers below.

There are 11 avalanche chutes above Cutthroat Ridge.

Heavy snow has closed the highway twice in the last three week.

The closure lasts through the winter. Snowmobilers, hikers and skiers are allowed past the gates – only vehicles are barred.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653