September 6, 2013 at 12:44 PM
Two Washington passes and Icicle Road closed by mudslides
Mudslides have closed Washington’s scenic North Cascades Highway once again. And in the southern Cascades, State Route 410 — the Chinook Pass Highway — is also closed by slides, with parts of it buried 8 feet deep in mud.
A slide has also closed a popular recreational route, Icicle Road, near Leavenworth.
On the North Cascades Highway, heavy rain touched off the slides in several locations, with rocks and mud covering the highway, the Department of Transportation said Friday. The road, also known as Highway 20, is closed between mileposts 147 (10 miles west of Rainy Pass) and 171 (9 miles east of Washington Pass).
Mudslides earlier closed the popular North Cascades Highway for more than a week in August. Now it will be closed through this weekend, and a reopening date won’t be determined until next week, said the DOT, since more heavy rain, and possibly slides, are expected Friday.
In Yakima County, the scenic State Route 410, which takes travelers over Chinook Pass (at the eastern boundary of Mount Rainier National Park) and eastward toward Yakima, is also closed by mudslides. SR 410 is closed east of the pass between milepost 105 and 108, nine miles west of the junction with U.S. Highway 12, said the DOT. It’s unclear when the highway will reopen.
There are alternate routes for both passes, including to the popular tourist destination of the Methow Valley in the North Cascades. But the closures cut access to popular recreation areas and prevents travelers from taking the mountain drives on a late-summer weekend.
Meanwhile, near Leavenworth, Icicle Road, a popular camping and hiking area, is closed about 11 miles west of town. Rain from Thursday night’s thunderstorm washed rocks and woody debris into a 4-foot wide culvert on Icicle Road, near the Fourth of July Trailhead, clogging the culvert and diverting water flow across the road.
“There is mud and water over the road completely blocking it,” said Acting Wenatchee River District Ranger Mick Mueller. “The mudslide is between 200-300 feet long and ranges from six inches to two feet deep in places,” he said.
Crews have opened one lane of traffic through the mudslide to allow people to leave the area with their vehicles. “Once all forest visitors have left the area, the road will remain closed until a more permanent fix can be made,” Mueller said.
No one was in the area of the slide when it occurred; no injuries occurred nor were any vehicles in the vicinity. Icicle Road is open up to Fourth of July Trailhead.
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