Authorities say the main highway to Mount Rainier National Park will remain closed until mid-March or possibly longer due to the extensive damage caused by flooding, washouts, landslides and fallen trees during recent heavy rains.

KOMO reports that State Route 706, which passes through the town of Ashford and leads to the national park's historic Nisqually Entrance, was essentially wiped out east of Ashford and crews were initially unable to start clearing slide damage due to ongoing flooding.

But by Thursday, the overflows had receded and construction crews began bringing in large equipment to clear the slide debris covering the highway. On Friday, crews began separating the rock from the wood debris, so the rock can be incorporated into the reconstruction project.

There is currently no detour available, and residents of the area are being escorted in and out in convoys. A path also has been cleared through the debris for emergency vehicles.