The gates on the North Cascades highway will open this week.

The gates barring seasonal traffic on the North Cascades Highway will open this week.

MAZAMA — Washington's most popular season route is scheduled to reopen for spring on Thursday morning at 9 a.m.

It's the earliest North Cascades Highway 20 has reopened since 2015. Crews have been working toward the reopening since late March, removing snow and making repairs.

The route shut down in late November, as it does every year when snow makes the road impassable. When opened, the North Cascades Highway is a crucial part of the historic Cascade Loop Scenic Byway, which winds from Whidbey Island as far east as Pateros.

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