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Contact: Summer Derrey, WSDOT Communications (Chinook Pass), 509-577-1943
Contact: Harmony Haveman Weinberg, WSDOT Communications (Cayuse Pass), 206-440-4475
Contact: Tracy Swartout, Mount Rainier National Park, 360-569-6502
MOUNT RAINIER –Despite this week's spring storms, Washington State Department of Transportation maintenance crews are on track to reopen Chinook Pass on State Route 410 and Cayuse Pass on State Route 123 8 a.m. Friday, April 3. The passes may open earlier if conditions allow.
This year's opening date is historically early for both mountain passes. This is the earliest reopening date for Chinook and the second earliest for Cayuse. The mild winter allowed crews to start clearing ahead of schedule and they were able to condense three months of work onto a few weeks.
Although the passes are reopening early, drivers should be aware unpredictable storms and avalanche danger may prompt WSDOT or the National Park Service to suddenly close the highways with little to no warning. WSDOT and the Park Service also advise backcountry recreationists to avoid areas directly adjacent to the highway for the safety of drivers.
WSDOT has worked closely with the National Park Service for decades to reopen these mountain passes each year. The Park Service wants to pass along the following information to drivers:
- On these remote mountain roads, conditions can and do change frequently. Drivers are advised to pay attention to all warning signs in the park.
- Mount Rainier National Park will extend access from SR 123 to the popular Grove of the Patriarchs Trail just inside the Stevens Canyon entrance; entrance fee applies.
- Road access and trailhead parking will be available on SR 410 and SR 123 through Mount Rainier National Park, but the park restrooms are only available at Tipsoo Lake near Chinook Pass. Porta johns will be available by Monday, April 6, at the Grove of the Patriarchs trailhead parking area just inside the park's Stevens Canyon entrance; park entrance fee applies. Additional services will become available in May.
###WSDOT keeps people, businesses and the economy moving by operating and improving the state's transportation systems. To learn more about what we're doing, go to www.wsdot.wa.gov/news for pictures, videos, news and blogs. Real time traffic information is available at www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic or by dialing 511.