Thursday, April 22, 2010

Starting work on the 5 Mile

After the snow of late last week, it seemed like we might never see the end of winter. But, thankfully, the snow at the base melted quickly, and the story was much the same on the portions of the Road already cleared. The even better news was the state of the culverts: clear. With that bit of luck, the Road Crew has made steady progress this week. Today, I headed up to see just what things looked like.

Starting up from the base, you would never have any idea that there could be any snow left on the Road at all. You don't see anything white until the shaded snowbanks at Mile and a Quarter Park. But, as you travel upward, you're reminded you're on Mt. Washington. By 3 Mile, the snowbanks on either side are fairly significant, and the snow is encroaching on both sides. In fact, in many places, the Road is still only one lane wide. However, we were able to travel to Winter Cut Off, about 4.25 miles, without chains or 4WD. And, the snow is melting quickly. Above that: it's a whole different story.

As soon as you make you way through the S Turns to the base of the 5 Mile, you encounter snow, slush, ice and winter. It's a totally different world. Today, the bulldozer was working near the top of the 5 Mile taking care of the top layer. The grader is also up there smoothing the way for the backhoe and steam drill. The backhoe was searching for culverts and making good progress. The crew working steam drill wasn't working too hard today as they needed only a bit of shoveling to open up the ends of already flowing culverts. That's great news because that means less ice in the culverts, so we can move more quickly up the mountain. Well, once we get all the snow out of the way. The snowbanks are still quite substantial: at least 15 feet in many spots along the 5 Mile.

Good progress to this point, and the Road Crew is feeling very good about their work so far. This week's weather has certainly helped, and more sunny, warm weather will help the melting below Halfway.

Now, I know what you're thinking, and we're starting to think about an opening date, but, right now, it's too early to make any definitive plans. We need to watch the weather, monitor the road conditions and hope. As soon as I know, you'll know. I'm planning to make another trip up the Road next week to get a look at the Crew working on some culverts.

Be sure to check out the full photo gallery on our Facebook page. Video coming soon, too!

- Ryan

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