CHINOOK PASS – Crews are gearing up to reopen Chinook Pass on Friday, May 17. It’s fairly safe to say drivers can make travel plans over State Route 410 this weekend.

Washington State Department of Transportation maintenance crews will reopen the east gate to Chinook Pass at Morse Creek, five miles east of the summit at 10 a.m. Friday.

Crews spent the past five weeks clearing snow approximately 20 feet deep along the roadway and shoulder. Crews typically clear between 15 to 25 feet of snow from the summit.

“Clearing efforts went pretty smooth and we didn’t run into any big challenges from the snowpack,” said John Stimberis, WSDOT avalanche specialist.

Chinook Pass closed for the season Nov. 12, 2012, from the intersection of SR 123 and SR 410 (three miles west of the summit) to Morse Creek (5.5 miles east of the summit). WSDOT typically closes Chinook every year in late November due to heavy snowfall, high avalanche risk and hazardous driving conditions.

Drivers should be aware the potential for winter driving conditions still exists and watch for loose rock and debris along the roadway. WSDOT crews routinely monitor highway conditions along this stretch.

Chinook Pass is one of the state’s highest mountain passes (elev. 5,430 feet), a part of the SR 410 National Scenic Byway and one of the access points into Mount Rainier National Park. Commercial vehicles are prohibited through Mt. Rainier National Park.

Cayuse Pass on SR 123 reopened May 3.

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