WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — Officials with the Washington State Department of Transportation announced today that they are hoping to be able to reopen the North Cascades Highway (SR20) tomorrow morning, Wednesday, August 22nd. A large section of the highway has been closed due to debris and firefighting efforts in the area.
No estimate for reopening the North Cascades Highway has been forthcoming since it was reclosed on Thursday, August 10th. The 30-mile section of road between Newhalem and Rainy Pass was closed August 4th and reopened for a day on August 9th. The closed section was later expanded from 30 to 50 miles when the eastern point was moved to the Silver Star gate.
The closures followed firefighting efforts around the Sourdough and Blue Lake wildfires. The Sourdough wildfire was discovered on July 29th and is believed to have been started by lightning.
The announcement today, Tuesday, August 21st, said multiple agencies were working to clear debris in order to reopen the road.
Once reopened, only through-traffic will be allowed. No stopping will be allowed through the 50-mile section due to continued firefighting efforts.
Motorists are asked not to line up in advance of the expected 8am reopening.
WSDOT officials added that for as long as needed, a pilot car will direct traffic between Rainy Pass (milepost 158) and the Blue Lake trailhead parking lot (milepost 162) between 9:30am and 8:30pm.