Washington State Department of Transport (WSDOT) announced yesterday that the SR 20 North Cascades Highway will open for the season at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 10.
Crews started clearing the highway that connects the Skagit and Methow valleys about seven weeks ago and has a final bit of work to do over the next couple of days, making repairs and clearing debris. The Forest Service is also doing some controlled burns, so the highway will still be an active work zone Monday and Tuesday, and we ask people to stay out for their safety.
Big thanks to our crews for all their hard work up there, and we look forward to one of the most scenic roads in the state being open. Please be aware that there are very few services and little cell phone coverage up there, so if you do head across, please be prepared and safe.
According to Wikipedia, State Route 20 (SR 20), also known as the North Cascades Highway, is a state highway that traverses the US state of Washington. It is the state’s longest highway, traveling 436 miles (702 km) across the northern areas of Washington, from US Route 101 (US 101) at Discovery Bay on the Olympic Peninsula to US 2 near the Idaho state border in Newport. The highway travels across Whidbey Island, North Cascades National Park, the Okanagan Highland, the Kettle River Range, and the Selkirk Mountains. SR 20 connects several major north–south state highways, including Interstate 5 (I-5) in Burlington, US 97 through the Okanogan–Omak area, SR 21 in Republic, and US 395 from Kettle Falls to Colville.
SR 20’s path across the Cascades follows one of the oldest state roads in Washington, established in 1896 as a wagon route. The wagon road fell into disuse within a decade, and the state government postponed the construction of a new route across the North Cascades for several decades. The development of the Skagit River Hydroelectric Project spurred boosters to lobby the state for a new route across Washington Pass, which was opened in 1972. SR 20 originally ran from the Mount Vernon area to Okanogan. By 1973, SR 20 was extended over existing state highways in northern Washington, replacing SR 113 and portions of SR 525 and SR 536 near Port Townsend, SR 30 and SR 294 from Tonasket to Tiger, and part of SR 31 from Tiger to Newport.