Forum Index > Stewardship > Public Meetings - Mtn Loop Highway Feasibility Study
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Chief Joseph
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PostMon Mar 11, 2019 3:50 pm 
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Ok, but FS road #49 still goes to the NFSauk TH doesn't it? Or did last fall given on found 2 TR's for that area.

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Schroder
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PostMon Mar 11, 2019 3:59 pm 
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Chief Joseph wrote:
Ok, but FS road #49 still goes to the NFSauk TH doesn't it? Or did last fall given on found 2 TR's for that area.

Yes. You used to be only half way up the road at that trailhead.
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Schroder
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PostMon Mar 11, 2019 4:14 pm 
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I couldn't make the meetings but I submitted my comments earlier.

My feeling is that paving the last 14 mile section is long overdue.  When they moved the highway out of Darrington to the west side of the river as far as the White Chuck and paved it, the project was expected to continue shortly after but the budget ran dry.  It eliminated the worst section of road though between the Sauk Prairie Road and the White Chuck, which was pothole heaven.  I might see some issues on the stretch between Elliot Creek and Barlow Pass but not north of there.  There's also not as much snow at that elevation (Barlow Pass the highest at 2400') that would make it difficult to plow as an emergency route.  At one time they used to plow the south side from Verlot to Barlow Pass regularly.
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Chief Joseph
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PostTue Mar 12, 2019 8:25 am 
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It finally came to me, I recall several years ago looking at an old map and seeing Sloan Campground, which is where I assume FS road #49 previously ended, and was probably the beginning of the old trail to Sloan Meadows and Peak. Thanks Kim, Ann, and Shroder.

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timberghost
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PostFri Mar 15, 2019 4:52 am 
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It will make it easier for people to haul their old trailers, motorhomes, and garbage up there to dump it
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rossb
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PostSun Mar 31, 2019 8:25 am 
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I think there are some big differences between it and the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie. The Middle Fork had terrible potholes (the parts that aren't paved still have them). In contrast, the gravel part of the Mountain Loop is not that bad. Second, the Middle Fork is much closer to lots and lots of people. This combination of being a very bad road, and close to a lot of people made it a favorite dumping ground. People could get rid of junk, and figure no cop is going to bother to go out that far. Nor are you likely to have a witness, other than a hiker who will ignore you (having seen Deliverance). Paving has changed the dynamic. It is very easy to patrol, because again, it is very close to town.

In contrast, paving the remaining section of the Mountain Loop is kind of like paving the remaining section of the Middle Fork. I don't think either unpaved road is a big problem, just because it takes a while for most people to get out there. I could be wrong, but I've never seen the trash off the mountain loop that I saw on the Middle Fork. If anything, I would rather they pave the remaining part of the Middle Fork, just because it is such a terrible road.

Which gets me to the main point. I am fine with this, but I have a hard time believing this is the best use of money. There are plenty of other roads that I wish were paved, and plenty of other roads that I wish just were regraded (so that they were as good as the gravel part of the Mountain Loop).  Having said that, I understand that the money can't simply be thrown at other projects. Different agencies have different budgets and different jurisdictions.
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RandyHiker
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PostMon Apr 01, 2019 7:12 am 
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FWIW: Once the section from Barlow Pass down is paved, It will form a "Century" road biking loop -- I can see this becoming a new Cascade Bicycle club "classic" ride akin to STP, RSVP and RAMROD.
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Brian Curtis
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PostWed Apr 03, 2019 5:56 am 
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Kim Brown wrote:
It’s a great little trail to Bald Eagle and Bowser Lakes (but we missed out on finding the route to Bowser Lakes).

I don't think there is any sort of formal or informal route to Bowser from the Bald Eagle trail. But there was a constructed trail dropping down to Bowser Lake at one time. You can clearly see the switchbacks from the lake shore. While it is grown over, it can still be followed up toward the pass that is directly on the line between the lake and Bald Eagle. But the tread ends in the rocks near the pass and I couldn't see where it went on the other side. Do you know anything about that old trail?

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Backpacker Joe
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PostWed Apr 03, 2019 6:08 am 
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Schroder wrote:
My feeling is that paving the last 14 mile section is long overdue

Hey Schro, would that section be paving feasible?  That section seems to take a lot of yearly abuse.

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Schroder
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PostTue Nov 05, 2019 7:58 am 
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Final paving options ready in Mountain Loop Highway study
The Federal Highway Administration will present its recommendations during two meetings this week.

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GRANITE FALLS — Visitors who travel from far away to explore the lush evergreens and high peaks along the Mountain Loop Highway eventually run into a 14-mile stretch of narrow, gravel road.

For decades there have been talks of paving that part of the byway that connects Granite Falls and Darrington.

In the past year and a half the Federal Highway Administration has explored options to make the route more comfortable for drivers, with the Mountain Loop Highway Feasibility Study.

Now it’s complete, and people are invited to learn more at two meetings this week. The first is Wednesday in Granite Falls and the second is Thursday in Darrington.

The highway administration plans to present its ideas and the cost of each. After, suggestions will be sent to Snohomish County and the U.S. Forest Service for final decisions. Feedback will be included in that package.

The wide range of choices includes making no changes to the highway, making some improvements and paving all the way through. The last option is not recommended, project manager Michael Traffalis said.

Keeping the road as-is costs about $112,000 per year, while the most expensive construction would be an estimated $40 million.

To pay for the study, the county and forest service received funding through the Federal Highway Administration’s Federal Lands Access Program.

The same program could pay for construction, if that’s what the county and the forest service decide on. Applications for that grant are due in May, Traffalis said.

“Under that program any construction is at least three years out,” he said.

No decisions have been made yet.

The gravel portion of road is between Barlow Pass and White Chuck River.

Over the years, proponents have said paving that section will make access easier to popular recreation sites, and that it could be an alternative route in case of an emergency. That issue generated a lot of discussion after the 2014 Oso mudslide, when the closure of Highway 530 forced many drivers to and from Darrington to detour through Skagit County.

Opponents have been concerned about negative effects the work could have on the wilderness. There are also concerns with natural hazards along the highway, such as slides, that could make construction and maintenance difficult.

Dozens of people attended earlier meetings, the last being in the spring.

Mountain Loop Highway Feasibility Study

Public Meeting and Feedback
The final set of public open houses for the Mountain Loop Highway Feasibility Study will take place on November 6th in Granite Falls and November 7th in Darrington. Please join us and learn about the Mountain Loop Highway Feasibility Study.

Granite Falls
Wednesday, November 6, 2019
Granite Falls Middle School Multipurpose Room
405 N Alder Ave, Granite Falls, WA 98252

Darrington
Thursday, November 7, 2019
Darrington Community Center
570 Souk Ave, Darrington, WA 98241
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bk
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PostTue Nov 05, 2019 11:25 am 
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For both nights:
Doors open at 5:30 PM
Starts at 6:00 PM.
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Schroder
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PostMon Nov 11, 2019 1:29 pm 
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Study to pave Mountain Loop heads to county, forest service
The two agencies now get to decide on the options and how to move forward with funding.

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To maintain the gravel roads as-is would cost about $112,000 each year. The most expensive option, to completely pave and almost double the width of the roadway, could reach an estimated $70 million.
...
project manager Jeff Key gave his opinion
The most extreme option would be to completely reconstruct the roadway and bring the speed limit up to about 40 mph.
Key doesn’t think that idea should move forward.
“I personally feel that leaving it exactly the way it is should drop off, too,” he said.
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Malachai Constant
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PostMon Nov 11, 2019 2:38 pm 
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It would make for an easier escape for trailhead bandits huh.gif

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iron
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PostTue Nov 12, 2019 11:24 am 
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Brian Curtis wrote:
I don't think there is any sort of formal or informal route to Bowser from the Bald Eagle trail. But there was a constructed trail dropping down to Bowser Lake at one time. You can clearly see the switchbacks from the lake shore. While it is grown over, it can still be followed up toward the pass that is directly on the line between the lake and Bald Eagle. But the tread ends in the rocks near the pass and I couldn't see where it went on the other side. Do you know anything about that old trail?

i saw about the same amount of tread you saw:
http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8001925

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