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  • May 22 UPDATE
    • Jack (Premier Login hyak)
      Posted May 22, 2006 11:53 PM

      May 22, 2006

      Barring unforeseen circumstances, WSDOT intends to open Chinook Pass at noon on Thursday, May 25. This site will be updated quickly should the opening schedule change.

      Snow-clearing crews are finishing up the snow removal on the west slope; guardrail repairs, sign replacement, and lane striping work make up the remaining tasks prior to opening the pass.

      A WSDOT contactor has repaired the damage to a section of roadway from a 2005 washout. Crews are replacing damaged guardrail, signs and reflectors along SR 410 near the pass, where natural avalanches have bent or swept away the markers. WSDOT is still aiming to have all repairs completed and the pass open before Memorial Day.

      Workers are using two dozers, two snow blowers, and a large front-end loader to remove snow in a coordinated effort. A first dozer aided by GPS equipment, called a pioneering dozer, moves ahead of the blowers, locating the roadway and side-casting snow down to a depth of six feet; any lower runs the risk of damage to guardrails and rock walls. The second dozer then carefully pushes the remaining snow to the roadway for removal by the blowers. This painstaking procedure also reveals any trees, boulders, and other debris for the loader to remove prior to blowing.

      Snowfall and winter driving conditions can occur at Chinook Pass (elevation 5,430 ft) through the end of May. Avalanche and control work closures remain a possibility during and after storm events. Please be prepared for winter driving conditions. Motorists are advised to watch for work crews and fallen rocks on the roadway.
      Chinook Pass is designated as an All American Road and is an entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park. Tipsoo Lake, at the summit of Chinook Pass, is one of the most photographed landscapes in the U.S.

      This section of SR 410 is closed annually; the closure typically happens between late November and May. A five-mile stretch, just east of the summit, is cut along the side of an avalanche area that makes it too dangerous to keep open during the snowy winter months. The annual closure area lies between two gates; the west gate at the intersection of SR 410 and SR 123, and the east gate on SR 410 at Morse Creek, 6 miles east of the summit.

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