Sen. Roach calls on WSDOT to open Chinook and Cayuse passes

Pam Roach - Courtesy photo
Pam Roach
— image credit: Courtesy photo

For the Reporter

Today Sen. Pam Roach called on the Washington State Department of Transportation to take immediate action to expedite the opening of Chinook and Cayuse passes.

"These passes are extraordinarily important for the people and businesses of my district, who rely on them for the free flow of goods and people for commerce, safety and tourism," said Roach, R-rural Auburn.

Chinook Pass is on State Route 410 between Enumclaw and Naches and provides the east entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. Cayuse Pass connects to Chinook Pass and White Pass on the east side of Mount Rainier.

In a letter to state transportation secretary Lynn Peterson, Roach acknowledged the challenges and competing priorities faced by WSDOT, including opening the North Cascades Highway, but pointed out that opening the two highways in her area should be easier to accomplish this year.

"Cayuse Pass used to stay open year-round through the mid-1970s, and since then, it has opened as early as April 3," said Roach. "With 30-40 percent less snow than recent years, the people I represent expect the passes to be open to commerce, tourism, and residential needs even earlier this year.

"Opening these passes well before the Memorial Day weekend is a reasonable goal, and one I sincerely hope the department is working toward. Every effort should be made to clear these roads at the earliest possible opportunity."

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