WA State Department of Transportation to Clear Mountain Passes E - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

WA State Department of Transportation to Clear Mountain Passes Earlier than Usual

Posted: Updated:

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - After a mild winter with relatively little snowfall, road crews are already getting to work clearing some of Washington's mountain passes.

The state Department of Transportation says work's underway to clear Chinook Pass on State Route 410 and Cayuse Pass on State Route 123. Cayuse could open as soon as March 27, with Chinook's opening date estimated as April 3 - both historically early  

The department says snowpack and avalanche danger are less of a worry for workers this year, but repairing a winter's worth of rockslide damage to the roads will be a challenge. They also need to remove rocks and debris from the ditches and culverts   

Crews are also getting an early start on the North Cascades Highway over Washington Pass. The DOT says they'll start work Monday from the east side, and they'll start from the west a week later. It's expected to take a month to clear the road, which usually doesn't open until early May

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)