MOUNT VERNON, Wash. — The North Cascades Highway, otherwise known as State Route 20, reopened to vehicle traffic Tuesday after a months-long closure.
Around noon, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) finally tweeted that the gates were open.
The WSDOT said crews have been working for about six weeks to clear the highway of snow between the winter closure points near Diablo and Mazama.
Crews began clearing the highway of snow on March 28. Last week, crews clearing snow from the east and west sides of the North Cascades met just west of Rainy Pass.
The highway has been closed between the closure points since November.
Officials said avalanche potential remains, and many Forest Service and Parks Service facilities in the area remain closed.
The WSDOT said there is still “plenty” of snow on the sides of the road and warned drivers to watch their speed and to give others room. The department asked anyone who wanted to look at the scenery to pull off into established areas and not on the sides of the road.
The WSDOT also warned eastbound drivers to use caution near milepost 113 between Marblemount and Newhalem after part of the roadway crumbled last winter due to heavy rain and freezing conditions. That area of the road is currently only one lane with an automated traffic signal in place.
SR 20 is the northernmost route across the Cascade Mountain Range in Washington. It's also part of the Cascade Loop, which is a 400-mile driving tour through the Cascades, according to WSDOT.
The earliest SR 20 ever reopened was in 2005, on March 10.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.