Thursday, January 1, 2009

Avalanche danger in the mountain passes

Happy New Year!

Our wish for 2009 goes like this, "Winter, winter ... go away!"

Seriously, we just started winter in Washington and we're already ready for it to be over. The main mountain passes for east-west travel ... the backbone of our state's economy ... are closed today. It looks like Stevens (US 2) and Snoqualmie (I-90) will be closed through the night into tomorrow morning. Eastern Washington is going to get more snow tonight and into tomorrow, too.

We'll have our crews deployed, all available resources are at hand. But even with our best efforts, you should continue to expect winter driving conditions throughout most of Washington.

Here's a shot of crews leading a caravan of folks back off the mountain.


Sally said...

As a longtime resident of Snoqualmie Pass, I would like a consistent, and reliable way to find out if there will be convoys, and where they will meet. I have waited an an exit for an hour and a half, only to find that I was waiting in the wrong location. I have missed convoys more than once!

My daughter was stranded off the Pass today. She was ready to come home to open presents. She did not hear about the convoy.

We understand the difficult situation the highway department is in, and appreciate their efforts. We would just like to have a consistent protocol, so we can willingly comply, and get home safely whenever possible

Jeremy Bertrand said...

Sorry to hear about that. Summit Inn is the informal focal point. If there is ever a convoy the folks at Summit Inn are the first to know.

The Geezer said...

Like the little boy that cried wolf, the WSDOT typifies the NANNY STATE by closing roads, and decreasing mobility, JUST IN CASE!

I have a high placed WSDOT official admitting to such, email on request to non WSDOTERS.

If there is a snow slide, clear it, and advise me there may be another, but don't close the road, JUST IN CASE. The cost of freight mobility, which is supposedly a priority to the menopausal matriarchs (Greg-wire, Hammond, and my old buddy MM who I have known since I was a small child), needs to be addressed, as well as the mobility of the peeps.

Now, the Geezer didn't get that name from being a spring chicken, but those passes rarely closed, save for an hour or two, in my youth, just a year or two ago. The same terrain surrounded the pass, save for a missing snow shed or two, and it didn't slide then, so why now? Particularly with all that global warming going on that the Staties keep telling me about. Heck, I just checked next to my driveway, that that global warming I shoveled off over the last couple of weeks is almost gone.

BANISH the nanny state or admit to us you are closing the pass just to "keep us safe, because we can't be responsible for ourselves, and make our own travel decisions"

Geezer OUT!!!!!

Sally said...

Ah, Jeremy, We don't need information from the Summit Inn to get home! If we could get to the Summit Inn, we would BE home! We need information in North Bend.

When we are trying to get home, after working all day in the city, where are we to go to find information on interstate 90? As I leave for work, I check the DOT website. If the pass is closed and has published an opening time, I can finish some pf the paperwork that is always sitting on my desk, or I could run errands in town, and go home as the pass opens. If the Pass is closed without a specific opening time mentioned on the website, I could call the State Patrol offices to find out if we will be able to go home, but they close around the time I get off work. (It only makes sense, they need to go home sometime, too.)

The radio station (1610) does not always give us enough warning as to the dispatch of Convoys. Last year, I dashed from a meeting in Redmond. I rushed to North Bend because my husband phoned me; he had heard on 1610 that there would be a convoy at a specific time. If I hurried, I just might make it home! I missed the convoy by 15 minutes. If there had been a protocol in place, I would have known, if the pass is closed, there will be convoys at certain times.

Am Radio Statoin 1610 has such a small broadcasting area that I cannot receive it at my work, or while I run errands in town.

I have contingency plans for "emergency overnight" accommodations, but I prefer going home! So when do I decide to implement my own contingency plan? what I need, is to be better informed.

Mostly we need a common protocol, such as:
Residents, with Proof of residency window stickers may wait at the off ramp of exit 34, at 4 and 9 PM. At the end of last year, I thought some ideas were discussed, but I have never seen any final established protocol for convoys and pass closures.

My nephew was waiting in a convoy, and said that convoys were established to exclusively allow press to visit the pass, and leave again.

I am not intending to be difficult. I am not asking for extra convoys, I am just asking for the opportunity to be informed and included in the convoys that are already taking place. Thanks

The Geezer said...

Sally, you ask excellent questions. I am unsure that Young Jeremy can correspond with you directly, as your profile does not have an email addy.

If you want to share it with me, I will put you guys together, as your question has a broader base than just you.

The Geezer, who is not always a PITA, but sometimes tries to do a public service for folks, other than just give WSDOT grief., which is also available on my profile.

Sally said...

Thanks, Geezer. I didn't include my email address because don't want any more emails simply spouting rhetoric sent my personal account, I want responses in public forums, so other full time residents, and the general public can join the discourse. When others start participating in the dialog, it carries greater impact. So, DOT, What say you?

Anonymous said...

I am a Sgt with the WSP
I would love to address your concerns off-line you can call me at (425) 957-2306. Leave me your phone numbers or e-mails and we will help.
Sgt Triplett #110

Janelle said...

I live at the Pass as well and was almost unable to get to work today. I heard there was a convoy leaving at 8:00 am so a friend came to pick me up and we carpooled down the mountain. Luckily, I work in Snoqualmie, so my chances of hearing convoy information on 1610 is greater than if I worked in the city. However, since I am without a vehicle today I don't have access to 1610. I suppose I could ask a friend if I could sit in their car to listen to the radio, but it would be more convenient if I could find this information online. I, too, bring extra clothes and necesseties in case I am unable to get home if there are no convoys scheduled, but agree with Sally that it is nice to be able to go home after a long day at work.

Anonymous said...

Nice post you got here. It would be great to read a bit more about that matter. Thank you for giving that data.

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