With the new roundabout taking shape on the east end of the George Sellar Bridge that connects Wenatchee and East Wenatchee, NCWLife made a visit to the site and asked all the right questions of the Washington State Department of Transportation.
This week we got a treat from the Washington State Department of Transportation when they released drone footage taken from some of the last efforts in the reopening of the very scenic North Cascades Highway. The North Cascades Highway is a popular scenic byway that connects Western Washington and Eastern Washington in the northernmost part of the state. Vacationers taking that route get the opportunity to see the high mountain peaks, incredible scenic views, and the interesting sites and communities like Winthrop, Mazama, Washington Pass, Rainy Pass, Diablo Dam, Ross Lake, Newhalem, and more. The pass is closed during the winter months though because of heavy snow and avalanche danger. This means each spring, the WSDOT has to commence reopening operations. Those operations go a little something like this:
That’s hard and dangerous work up there and those crews do a great job. If you haven’t had the opportunity to take that trip, we can’t recommend it more highly. Drive the North Cascades Highway this summer, for sure!
Will you be driving into or out of the North Central Washington region during the winter months? One of the best tools you can have to prepare for the drive comes courtesy of the Washington State Department of Transportation. Right on their website, one link away from their homepage, is the mountain passes page.
The WSDOT’s Mountain Passes page is home to links to every mountain pass in the entire state. Then when you open those links up, you’ll see the current temperature, road conditions, any planned maintenance, and also images from some of the traffic cameras.
Here in North Central Washington the main passes we care about are Blewett, Stevens, and Snoqualmie. Knowing before you go what the conditions are there can help in planning how long your trip might take, knowing what to expect, and even knowing if you should reschedule your trip across the mountains. You can find all that and more on the WSDOT’s mountain pass page.
A very valuable tool for us travelers, especially in winter, check out the WSDOT’s Mountain Passes page.
Those of you who have made the trip back and forth across Stevens Pass during the winter know that traveling can at times seem a little treacherous. The Washington State Department of Transportation has a number of plow trucks and other maintenance vehicles that assist in keeping the pass not only open but safe to travel. One that people don’t see too often is the Incident Response Truck.
The Incident Response Truck resembles a pickup type truck with a sort of camper unit on the back. In reality this vehicle is set up to almost perfectly handle any situation that should arise on the roads. The Incident Response Truck can assist emergency vehicles who are responding to disasters like flooding, rock slides, and avalanches. It can also assist stranded motorists who are having either mechanical or other problems. The number one priority of the truck is to restore normal traffic flow as safely and quickly as possible. This can mean adding a gallon of gas to a traveler’s empty tank or actually pushing a disabled vehicle out of the roadway and onto the shoulder.
So if you’re driving across Stevens and you see a large white pickup with a WSDOT logo on the door, be appreciative that its there and should you need assistance know that it may be on the way.