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Wenatchee Area Questions


Welcome to "Ask the Traffic Team," a Web page created to answer your everyday questions about traffic issues in WSDOT's North Central region. You can find common questions sorted by subject in our Frequently Asked Questions archive. 

To submit your question, simply e-mail our Public Affairs office and provide as much detail as possible. You can typically expect a response with a week.



New cameras
Marie from Omak wonders if WSDOT has the budget for webcams on Disautel Pass and at Grand Coulee. She drives the route regularly, and thinks it would be nice to see the road conditions.

North Cascades opening
Annie from Nevada is planning a trip to the North Cascades Highway this year and wonders when it might open.

SR 155 weather information
Several drivers are curious to know whether WSDOT provides weather information for SR 155 near Grand Coulee.

ANSWERS:

Q: Can WSDOT install webcams on Disautel Pass and near Grand Coulee?
The chance of getting a camera in Grand Coulee is more likely now since some infrastructure improvements on a mountaintop relay site up there have just been completed (antennas and other high tech stuff). No budget has been approved by Legislature yet, but now we can install a camera or a Road Weather Information Station if we get some funding.

Disautel is a different story. A camera needs power and connectivity. The top of Disautel Pass doesn’t provide either. A camera there would require us to put in a power supply such as a propane-powered generator and with no phone lines or microwave relay available, we’d be depending on either a cell phone link (since you drive up there, you already know that’s a dicey proposition) or a satellite phone link.

Needless to say, the propane generator and a satellite phone system is not only expensive to install, but quite expensive to run every day it’s in operation.

Hopefully (as happened near Coulee Dam) we’ll see the infrastructure improved when some company runs fiber optic cable over Disautel or a power line or a microwave tower. Until then, it’s not likely we’re going to be able to put a camera at the summit.


Q: When will the North Cascades Highway open for spring?
It’s impossible to predict just when the North Cascades will reopen this spring. Last year (a La Nina winter) brought the heaviest snow late in the season and we had the second latest opening ever. This year is another La Nina winter so it’s possible we’ll get more heavy snow in March and April again this year (we had very low snowfall in December after a higher than usual November – Go figure!)

This is the link to the North Cascades webpage: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/passes/northcascades/.  
From there, check out the left column and you’ll find a link to the open/close dates since the highway opened in ’72. It shows the highway is usually reopened between late April and mid May.

Check the web page as spring approaches or you may want to sign up to get the email updates so you can follow the reopening effort week by week. (There’s a link to sign up for that at the bottom of the NCH webpage.)


Q: Does WSDOT have weather and road information for SR 155?
Even though WSDOT is responsible for constructing and maintaining the state highway and ferry systems, we do have a weather website that you might be interested in http://www.wsdot.com/traffic/weather/.  

You might also want to check the National Weather Service http://weather.gov/. You can enter a city and state on the top left side of the Web page.
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