North Cascades Highway reopens; among earliest starts after winter closure

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WINTHROP, Washington — Washington state Transportation Department crews have reopened the North Cascades Highway after its winter closure.

Friday's reopening is one of the earliest in the highway's 42-year history.

The department says crews began clearing the snow from State Route 20 three weeks ago. Last year it took nearly six weeks to clear the highway and it opened May 8. In 2013, with a light snowpack, it opened April 16. In 1977, a drought meant that the highway never closed during the winter.

The stretch of highway over the North Cascades is usually closed during the winter between Diablo and west of Mazama because of snow and avalanche danger.

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