- Associated Press - Thursday, April 2, 2015

LONGMIRE, Wash. (AP) - Washington state Transportation Department maintenance crews have reopened two major Cascade Mountains passes for the summer season.

Transportation Department spokeswoman Summer Derrey confirms that both Chinook Pass and Cayuse Pass opened late Thursday afternoon. The passes lie on the east side of Mount Rainier.

The opening date is historically early for both passes. Despite spring storms this week, the mild winter allowed crews to start clearing snow ahead of schedule and they were able to condense three months of work into a few weeks.

Still, the Transportation Department cautions drivers that conditions can change frequently on remote mountain roads.

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