Sunday, March 13, 2016

Wild windstorm whipping through Western Washington

By Justin Fujioka

UPDATE 2:25 a.m., March 14: SR 520 floating bridge open in both directions
The Washington State Department of Transportation reopened State Route 520 floating bridge just before 2 a.m. after bridge maintenance crews repaired damage to the mechanical system caused by high winds.

UPDATE 9:10 p.m.: SR 520 floating bridge to remain closed overnight

The Washington State Department of Transportation and the Washington State Patrol closed the State Route 520 floating bridge at 2:30 p.m. Sunday after waves generated by high winds began to wash across the bridge deck.

Once closed, WSDOT bridge maintenance crews inspected the bridge and discovered damage to a portion of the bridge's mechanical system that allows the draw span to move up and down. WSDOT bridge engineers believe high winds contributed to the damage. The bridge remains structurally sound. The new SR 520 floating bridge is scheduled to open this spring.

WSDOT will keep the bridge closed overnight to allow crews to make repairs to the mechanical systems. Crews expect the bridge to be open in time for the morning commute.

A strong wind storm is battering Western Washington. The National Weather Service in Seattle expects the strongest winds to persist into Sunday evening then diminish overnight.

Please be safe and use extra caution if you have to travel. Keep both hands on the wheel, especially if you drive a large vehicle.

The same storm is forecast to dump several feet of snow in the Cascades, especially near Mount Baker and Mount Rainier.

If you must travel, be sure you and your vehicle are prepared and stay updated on conditions by tuning in to media broadcasts and checking our travel alerts page.

Here are the active closures as of 5:30 p.m. March 13. Updates to active closures will continue throughout the storm and will be labeled "UPDATE" with a time and date. When a road reopens or situation is cleared, that will be indicated with "REOPENED," or "CLEARED."

King County
  • REOPENED 2:25 a.m. -- SR 520 floating bridge: Both directions of SR 520 (MP 3) are closed due to high winds. Vehicles stuck on bridge have been cleared. Eastbound is closed at Montlake Boulevard in Seattle and westbound at 92nd Avenue Northeast in Bellevue.
Snohomish County
  • REOPENED 7:20 p.m. -- I-405 Alderwood: Southbound I-405 before SR 527 (MP 30), fallen tree(s) are blocking three right lanes.
Whatcom County
  • CLEARED 7:14 a.m. March 14 -- SR 542 Glacier: SR 542/Mount Baker Highway is closed from Glacier to the Mount Baker Ski Area due to fallen trees.
Pierce County
  • CLEARED 6 p.m. March 13 -- SR 161 Graham: Southbound SR 161 near 194th Street East (MP 20) is closed due to downed power lines. Southbound traffic is being diverted into one of the northbound lanes. 
Kitsap/Jefferson County
  • REOPENED 6:45 p.m. March 13 -- SR 104 Hood Canal Bridge: Both directions of SR 104 (MP 15) are closed because the drawspan has been opened to relieve pressure from high winds.
  • CLEARED 5:42 p.m. March 13 -- US 101 Sequim: Southbound US 101 near Canal View Street (MP 311) is closed due to downed trees.
  • CLEARED 7:58 p.m. March 13 -- US 101 Kalaloch: Both directions of US 101 near Olympic National Park Road (MP 161) due to downed trees.
  • CLEARED 7:32 p.m. March 13 -- SR 20 Chimacum: Eastbound and westbound SR 20 is alternating near near Anderson Lake Road (MP 3) due to downed trees.

Live 520 Bridge Camera

Live Hood Canal Bridge Camera

Check this blog often, as we'll be updating it regularly with closure information.


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