Highway to Mt. Rainier National Park, SR 706, reopens after huge mudslides

VIDEO: Main gate to Mt. Rainier National Park re-opens

After more than two weeks of repairs following massive mudslides, both lanes of SR 706 are back open to drivers.

That means visitors to Mount Rainier National Park can once again use the main Nisqually entrance. The road is open to Longmire, with normal winter access to Paradise, depending on conditions.

>>Related: Mudslides, flooding block entrances to Mt. Rainier National Park

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Paradise will stay closed Monday, and Carbon River will remain closed until further notice.

The Washington State Department of Transportation closed the highway Feb. 6 after it was covered by two 400-foot-long mudslides following a period of heavy rain. Hundreds of tons of mud, rocks, trees and water crashed onto the highway, stranding park employees and 200 people in Nisqually Park who live near the park entrance.

WSDOT said several agencies had to work together to provide access for people who live in the slide area. Caravans were coordinated for residents to go in and out of the slide area.

Crews had to move mud, cut down trees and divert water off the highway.

Good weather allowed WSDOT’s emergency contractor to repair and reopen SR 706 ahead of schedule. It was estimated that the highway wouldn’t be open until mid-March.

Though the highway is open, drivers should expect one-way alternating traffic while crews continue to work.

Until crews can complete the work, travelers can expect daytime one-way alternating traffic.