- Associated Press - Saturday, May 2, 2015

TOUTLE, Wash. (AP) - Spirit Lake Memorial Highway to Johnston Ridge on Mount St. Helens has reopened.

Road crews opened the road on Friday, thanks to an unseasonably mild winter.

Washington Department of Transportation spokesman Bart Treece says the two-story high snow drifts that typically greet maintenance crews along State Route 504 near Mount St. Helens never materialized.

The road that leads to the Johnston Ridge Observatory closes at Coldwater Lake in late fall in most years. But a lack of snow meant crews were able to make repairs to the road and clear debris from slides.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the eruption on May 18, 1980 that killed 57 people, flattened a vast expanse of forest and sent a cloud of ash around the world.

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