While road work is said to be progressing well on the Stevens Canyon Road in Mount Rainier National Park, a section of the road will close to traffic beginning September 4, according to park officials.
The work revolves around resurfacing, restoration, and rehabilitation of the road and other related facilities, including bridges, tunnels, culverts, guard walls, retaining walls, turnouts and the short Wonderland Trail section adjacent to Reflection Lake. The improvements are along two segments of the road, totaling 10.09 miles of the 19 mile road.
Up until September 4, visitors should anticipate 20-minute delays, Monday – Friday, through each of two segments of roadwork on Stevens Canyon Road, park officials say. Bicyclists and motorcyclists are particularly encouraged to travel cautiously through the construction zones where gravel surfaces will periodically be encountered.
From September 4 until winter closure (typically in November), Stevens Canyon Road will be closed to all through traffic (vehicles and bicycles) from just east of the intersection with the Paradise Valley Road to the east tunnel portal at Box Canyon.
Visitors will be able to access Backbone Ridge, Box Canyon and adjacent trailheads via the east entrance near State Route 123 during the 2012 closure period but should continue to anticipate 20-minute delays Mondays – Fridays.
After closure hikers may access the Reflection Lakes area from the Narada Falls parking area via short connector trail south to the Wonderland Trail or north to connect to the Lakes Trail, Paradise, and/or the lower end of the Paradise Valley Road. Hikers wanting to access the Bench and Snow Lakes trail are encouraged to utilize the Wonderland Trail, crossing the road east of Louise Lake and walk along the south side of the roadway.
Stevens Canyon roadwork is scheduled to extend until mid-September 2013, with normal winter closures in 2012/2013, although no closures are anticipated during the 2013 season.
Stevens Canyon Road connects the east and west side of the park, extending for 19 miles from SR 123 at the east end to intersection with the Nisqually to Paradise Road at the west end, two miles south of Paradise. During the 2012 closure period, visitors are encouraged to access the Paradise area from the southwest via the Nisqually Entrance at east end of SR 706.
Visitors traveling from the east via SR 410, SR 123, and/or US 12 who wish to visit the Paradise area are encouraged to seek alternate routes. Roadwork that had also been causing temporary delays on USFS Skate Creek Road (#52) between Packwood and Ashford has recently been completed.
While the construction and associated closures and traffic delays present an inconvenience, the rehabilitation work will not only improve the driving surface of the roadway, but ensure its longevity.
Updated information on this project may be obtained by calling Mount Rainier National Park at 360-569-6713. Information on this project, as well as general park information, is also available on Mount Rainier National Park’s website.