North Cascades Highway opens early

Lighter snowfall this past winter helped crews reopen the North Cascades Highway Tuesday, almost a month earlier than last year.

State Department of Transportation crews began clearing the highway on March 25, a day earlier than last year. Generally it takes four to six weeks to clear the highway, but they did it in three weeks. The snow was as deep as 35 feet, about half as much as last year.

The highway was closed on Nov. 20.

The latest reopening was on June 14, 1974. In 1980 it remained open all winter because of a drought.