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Source: Washington State News 2

Celeste Dimichina, communications, 360-905-2057

TOUTLE – The first official day of winter brings weather advisories and forecasts for snow in the southern Washington Cascades. In preparation, the upper level of State Route 504, also known as Spirit Lake Memorial Highway, is closing for the winter.

At dusk, on Monday, Dec. 21, Washington State Department of Transportation maintenance crews will close the gate to the upper reaches of the road, at milepost 45, near Coldwater Lake.

Each year, WSDOT coordinates the annual closure with the U.S. Forest Service in anticipation of hazardous winter weather. The road reopens each spring.

“We close the upper portion of the highway for several reasons,” said Kent Palmer, WSDOT’s lead maintenance technician for the area. “First, because this stretch of highway gets a lot of rain, ice and snow, it may not be safe for travelers. Second, closing ahead of inclement winter weather gives our crews the time they need to clear downed trees and remove debris from ditches and culverts, which helps to minimizing springtime repairs and closures.”

The scenic byway will be closed from the Hummocks Trailhead to the Johnston Ridge Observatory, but Coldwater Lake still will be accessible as weather conditions allow.

MIL OSI USA News