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By the end of the second week of work to clear the North Cascades Highway, the East side crew had progressed more than halfway under Cutthroat Ridge.
WSDOT Spokesman Jeff Adamson said by Thursday afternoon, the crew had cleared and widened to MP 164.5 along Cutthroat Ridge. That places the work at CR 8, meaning they've cleared through 7 of the 12 Cutthroat Ridge avalanche chutes in that zone.
The D-6 caterpillar worked ahead of the clearing crew, cutting the snow slide debris from CR 8 to CR 10 down to the same level as the other snow on the roadway. Adamson said “The snow blower happily chews through 6 feet of snow, but not 12!”
The work progressed a little slower than the day before because the caterpillar encountered some mechanical issues and was being repaired most of the day.
On the West side, Adamson said, they made it to mile post 150 Wednesday. After about an hour of widening Thursday morning crews headed east once again. Snow depth there is 4 feet even.
In recent comparable snow years, it has taken about 6 weeks to reopen , so the estimate remains mid-May.