WSDOT was able to reopen one lane in each direction at 11 a.m. this morning. Crews were hard at work early this morning clearing snow from lanes of I-90 Snoqualmie Pass. Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond wanted the public to see how hard crews were working to get the highway open and this footage definitely shows that.
Unfortunately, just hours later at 2:45 p.m., a large naturally-occurring snow slide near milepost 51 just west of Snoqualmie Summit completely blocked the westbound highway. WSDOT and the Washington State Patrol closed the pass in both directions. The eastbound lanes were closed at milepost 34 near North Bend due to worsening snow conditions. Because the westbound lanes were blocked, snow removal equipment could not make the necessary circuits to keep the eastbound lanes open.
Weather forecasters predicted a lull through early afternoon today; however up to 24 inches of snow is forecast for the next 24 hours, requiring likely periodic pass closures for additional avalanche control work.
There has been an incredible amount of snow recently in the Cascades, 35 inches in the last 24 hours, and forecasts don't show it letting up anytime soon. Crews working overtime have recently removed over one million cubic yards of snow from I-90!
What does that avalanche control look like? We have a video posted on YouTube of a smaller version of avalanche control showing just how much snow can come down onto the highway and what crews have to do to make the highway passable.
We also have photos of this recent event.
The weather is changing rapidly across the state, be prepared and drive save out there.
Recently, WSDOT crews built a 180-foot Bailey bridge in six days, and we have a fantastic set of pictures to tell the story of how it was done.
The before and after photos of the bridge that onced crossed the Chehalis river is proof of just how powerful the floodwaters were in that area.
Read the story:
Valiant Effort by WSDOT Bridge Crews Delivers a Military Bridge in Record Time
See the photo slideshow on Flickr.