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Road opening progress in Lassen - 5/2

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avatar Road opening progress in Lassen
April 23, 2013 04:38PM
The main road is now open to the Devastated Area from the northwest entrance.
avatar Re: Road opening progress in Lassen
April 23, 2013 05:33PM
April 23: The road crew is approaching Emerald Lake, as of late morning 4/23. The highway remains closed at the Kohm Yah-mah-nee visitor center during the week. During the weekends the highway will open to the Sulphur Works parking lot. Road repair operations continue at Sulphur Works. As a safety reminder, those walking or biking up the road when construction crew is present should take caution when traveling through the construction zone. Make sure the crew knows of your presence.
avatar Road opening progress in Lassen 4/26
April 28, 2013 02:43PM
2013 Snow Clearing Operator Log

April 26: It has been awhile since the last road update, but the road crew is pleased to report that we passed the Bumpass Hell parking area this week and have reached the middle of the first big corner past the Lake Helen picnic area, approximately 6 miles from the southwest park entrance. Regardless of lower than normal snow levels, there is 20 feet on the road at this location. This is a challenging area for the operators to work in, due in part to the tight turn radius and limited areas in which to push snow. Along sections of the road with steep drop-offs at the edge, gravity provides us with an advantage; snow cascades over the edge of the road, making the process go a bit smoother and quicker. The flat areas and tight turns found in areas like Lake Helen make snow removal difficult. Due to the multi-step process of compacting and moving snow to locations where the blowers can access them, road clearing can take significantly longer.

There is also more to the snow removal process that just clearing the road. The freeze-thaw cycle (typical in the spring) transforms the snow on the slopes above the road into a stew of rock, ice, and snow. Snow is a powerful force, acting like a bulldozer pushing large rocks out of place; it is not uncommon to see large rocks suspended on pillars of snow. It is only a matter of days before those rocks will roll down the bank and onto the road surface. As the snow recedes on the slopes above the road, the ground frozen through winter, thaws for several weeks which can release some big rocks and countless smaller rocks which require heavy equipment to move.

Additionally, the warmer spring weather rapidly melts snow during the day, while temperatures hover near freezing at night-this transforms melt water into sizable slicks. Drainage ditches need to be cleaned of fallen rocks to promote good drainage, and road surfaces repaired and shimmed where necessary. Features present along the road in the summer are removed in the fall so they don't get damaged in winter. One of these features is a rock wall located near Emerald Lake. A forklift is needed to re-install the wall, consisting of large blocks which form an aesthetically pleasing guard rail. Finally, the road is driven by Protection Rangers for a final safety review prior to opening the road.

We appreciate the patience of the public during this road opening procedure and invite the public to walk the road to view our progress.
avatar Road opening progress in Lassen - 5/2
May 04, 2013 02:03PM
May 2: The road crew has "peaked early" and is now in the process of cleaning the Peak parking lot. Snow depths continue to average 10' to 12', and we should be finished clearing the parking lot today and will start our downhill push to Summit Lake. This section of road is relatively easy to clear, and the continued sunshine and warm temperatures is aiding the melting of the snow pack. We will update everyone on our progress early next week.
avatar Road opening progress in Lassen - 5/13
May 13, 2013 03:03PM
May 13: The road crew is working hard and has made it beyond the Terrace, Shadow and Cliff Lakes trailhead. By the end of the day they plan to be on the sidehill above Kings Creek Meadow as they push north-northeast toward Summit Lake.
avatar Re: Road opening progress in Lassen
May 13, 2013 03:12PM

A snow plow driver enjoys a view of snowy Lassen Peak near the Devastated Area (NPS Photo)
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