Motorists can drive across the Cascades today on three mountain passes that typically don’t open for another month.
And with Wanapum Dam repairs now complete, boating can resume on a 20-mile stretch of the Columbia River that’s been closed for more than a year.
The North Cascades Highway reopened this morning to cross-state traffic between Diablo and Mazama. It’s one of the earliest reopenings in State Route 20’s 43-year history.
To the south, Chinook Pass and Cayuse Pass also opened earlier than usual because of lighter-than-usual winter snowfall.
A crack was discovered in Wanapum Dam near Vantage in February 2014, prompting Grant County PUD to lower the reservoir 26 feet while workers strengthened the spillway. The Columbia River shoreline was closed far to the north, leaving docks and boat launches high and dry. With repairs now complete, the reservoir has risen. Read the Spokesman-Review article.