Crews work to reopen section of North Cascades Highway

NEWHALEM, Wash. (AP) — Crews are working to reopen a section of the North Cascades Highway after an avalanche blocked traffic in both directions and prevented several dozen people from leaving the area.

State transportation officials say they’re working as quickly and safely as possible but don’t expect to reopen all lanes of the highway until at least Wednesday.

They say they’ll work first to reopen one lane so those stuck behind the slide area can leave.

The large snow slide covered State Route 20 east of Newhalem in Whatcom County on Sunday. It happened about 11 miles west of where the highway closed for the winter.

Officials say about five dozen people are stuck behind the slide area, but all have access to food and housing.

The highway is the northernmost route across the Cascade Mountains in northern Washington. The state closes a 37-mile section during the winter because of avalanche danger and weather conditions.