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Mudslides Close Hwy 20 (N. Cascades Hwy) and SR 410

Posted by Loren Drummond at Sep 06, 2013 11:45 AM |
For the second time this summer, heavy rains caused mudslides that closed the North Cascades Highway (SR 20). Mudslides also closed sections of the SR 410 west of Naches and Icicle Road outside of Leavenworth.
Mudslides Close Hwy 20 (N. Cascades Hwy) and SR 410

One of the mudslides that closed SR 410. Photo by WSDOT at flickr.com/wsdot

For the second time this summer, multiple mudslides have closed the North Cascades Highway (SR 20). Last night's heavy rains and thunderstorms unleashed enough mud and debris across the road to close the North Cascades Highway from milepost 147 (10 miles west of Rainy Pass) to 171 (9 miles east of Washington Pass).

With heavier rains expected today, Washington State Department of Transportation's Dave Chesson said that WSDOT crews do not expect to reopen the highway until sometime next week. Crews will likely wait until the rain subsides and it is safe to begin cleanup efforts, since more debris may come down as the day progresses. Chesson said that crews are also working on getting a few vehicles parked at the Pacific Crest Trailhead out of the closure area.

The key access road through the North Cascades had only been open a few weeks, after eight mudslides closed it in early August. Travelers looking for updates can call the hotline at 360-707-5055, visit the North Cascades website,  follow WSDOT and the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest on Twitter for updates.

The Cascade River Road to the popular (and spectacular) Cascade Pass - Sahale Arm Trail was unaffected by the mudslides. It remains open.

Three-mile section of SR 410, west of Naches, closed

Farther south, multiple mudslides, the deepest of which is between 6-8 feet deep, closed a section of SR 410, 20 miles west of Naches. WSDOT closed the road between milepost 105 and 108.

Crews are currently assessing the extent of damage and expect to begin the cleanup process Friday, possibly reopening the road as early as this weekend. A detour is available via the Nile Loop Road.

Updated 9.6.13 at 5:19 pm: The North Cascades National Park Complex also reported that a massive mud and rock slide in the community of Stehekin Thursday night buried vehicles in the long term parking area and at the mouth of Imus Creek. Businesses affected were Discovery Bikes and Stehekin Reservations and Fly Fishing Shop. Most of the bicycles were damaged or washed into Lake Chelan and the log cabin office for fly fishing and reservations was surrounded by mud and rocks.

An historic NPS storage shed at the Imus Cabin was filled with water and mud, the storage shed at the Lake House was damaged, and mud encroached on the public laundry building. Gas is currently turned off to that area to reduce the potential for fire. There were no injuries.

National Park employees, assisted by local residents, are clearing the road, and currently it is partially open for shuttle service and the public. Assessment of the work needed to recover the damaged vehicles and to stabilize the slide debris is currently underway.

Bicycle rentals are temporarily suspended, shuttle buses are operating as passage through the site is allowed. NPS boats have been shuttling people around the slide area to ensure pedestrian safety. The Imus Trail is closed to public use pending a safety assessment, trail repair and bridge replacement.

  • When hiking during or after very heavy rains, it's a good idea to take a little extra caution and watch your footing around any steep drainages, along hillsides, some shorelines and on snowfields. Drainages around recent fire activity can be particularly unstable to mud and debris flows.
  • Rivers can also swell unexpectedly, even this late in the season, so make sure to carefully assess any creek or river crossings.
  • If you see a landslide across a trail, let your local ranger station know. You can also report landslides to the Department of Natural Resources.

Pitch in to help trails

  • Flooding can also erode and damage trails. Washington Trails Association volunteer crews often help repair or work to protect trails from flooding. If you'd like to join the effort this fall, we've got some great volunteer opportunities coming up this month, some of which can help you earn your National Forest pass.
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