Celeste Dimichina, Communications, 360-905-2057
TOUTLE – Drivers planning a visit to Mount St. Helens should do so soon, as the upper portion of State Route 504 – also known as Spirit Lake Memorial Highway – will close for the winter on Thursday, Dec. 1.
Crews with the Washington State Department of Transportation will close SR 504 at milepost 45 near Coldwater Lake. The highway closes yearly in the upper elevation area due to hazardous roadway conditions caused by snow and ice. Closing in early winter before the threat of heavy snowfall allows maintenance crews to do important maintenance work on and along the roadway before working conditions become too difficult.
“The annual closure accomplishes two goals,” said WSDOT Maintenance Supervisor Clark Sexton. “First, this stretch of highway gets a lot of rain, ice and snow that may not be safe for drivers. Second, our crews are able to do work such as clearing downed trees and removing debris from ditches and culverts, which helps protect the overall integrity of the roadway.”
The closure includes the portion of road that leads to the Johnston Ridge Observatory, which also closes for the winter. The lower portion of SR 504 up to Coldwater Lake will remain open as weather conditions allow. WSDOT will reopen the full stretch of SR 504 in the spring once the threat of significant snowfall has passed.