Local Information

Upper Spirit Lake Memorial Highway closes for the winter on Oct. 31

Tuesday, October 29, 2019 - 15:33

Celeste Dimichina, communications, 360-905-2057

TOUTLE – Time is quickly running out to catch one last up-close, panoramic view of Mount St. Helens from along the higher elevations of State Route 504 – the road will soon close for the winter.

On Thursday, Oct. 31, at 5 a.m., Washington State Department of Transportation maintenance crews will close the upper reaches of the road, also known as Spirit Lake Memorial Highway, at milepost 45.0, near Coldwater Lake.

Each fall, WSDOT coordinates the annual closure with the U.S. Forest Service in anticipation of hazardous winter weather. The road reopens each spring.

“We close the upper portion of the highway every year to accomplish two goals” said WSDOT St. Helens Lead Technician Kent Palmer. “First, this stretch of highway gets a lot of rain, ice and snow, and may not be safe for travelers. Second, closing ahead of winter weather gives our crews time to clear downed trees and remove debris from ditches and culverts, in hopes of minimizing springtime repairs and closures.”

The scenic byway will be closed from the Hummocks Trailhead to the Johnston Ridge Observatory, but Coldwater Lake still will be accessible as weather conditions allow.

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