Monday, March 3, 2014

Challenging day on Snoqualmie Pass

Conditions on the passes are extremely challenging today. Below you’ll find a quick update on the status of Stevens and Snoqualmie passes along with resources to find up to the minute information. We’ll provide another update later this afternoon.

When will Snoqualmie Pass open?
I-90 reopened at 4:30 p.m. on Monday March 3, 2014.

We know this closure is tough for you, however, safety is our number one priority and we can’t reopen the roadway until it is safe to do so. 

Why did we close Snoqualmie Pass?
To keep drivers safe, we made the decision to close Snoqualmie Pass last night due increasing avalanche danger and falling trees.

What are we doing to reopen Snoqualmie Pass?
With almost two feet of snow since Saturday, our maintenance and avalanche crews have been working around the clock to keep the highways over Snoqualmie Pass open.

Crews cleaning up fallen trees
Our avalanche crews performed avalanche control work last night and early morning. However, the snow just keeps coming. Avalanche crews are closely monitoring the stability of the slopes.

In addition, we’ve hired a contractor to begin removing fallen trees that are blocking the I-90 at several locations.

Is Stevens Pass open?
Yes, Stevens Pass is open, but it is also receiving a substantial amount of snow. Expect several closures for avalanche control today. Please bring your chains because they’re required on most vehicles until further notice. 

What can you as drivers do?
If you need to cross the Cascades today come prepared.  You need to be prepared for driving in the snow. This means:
  • Have traction tires rated for mud and snow on your vehicle.
  • Have chains and know how to put them on.
  • Make sure your car is in proper working order. This would be a bad time for your car to break down on the pass.
  • Have food, water and blankets in your car just in case you get stuck.
  • Before heading out the door, assess your winter driving ability.
Our communications staff is busy gathering information and will be providing updates as they come in. You’ll know as soon as we know when the pass will reopen.

Thanks for your patience.


Unknown said...

What is unique about I90 that makes it more difficult and/or susceptible to difficulty in clearing and keeping it safely open ... vs US2. I90 seems to have more and longer closing than other passes in WA State.

The Geezer said...

Unknown is correct. I know what it is.......several times WSDOT flackmeisters have told me, "something may happen, and we will get sued"

Newsflash, that can happen at any time for any reason. You need to get some internal fortituede, and not settle these.

Sign leaving Ft. Lewis says "you are about to enter the most dangerous place on earth--a public highway"

So, give us the facts to make an informed decision, and keep the road open.

Many times, right after "avalance cleanup" I have crossed, with no evidence whatsoever there was any avalanches.

Quit biting the hand that feeds you, WSDOT, you weanies.

The Geezer has spaketh, and I will say it again when you continue such behavior.

Don't need no stinkin' gub'mint to keep me safe, thanks.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see WSDOT actually respond to the first "unknown" comment. It's not inflammatory and simply asks why I90 is different than other roadways in the State.

Please respond.

The Geezer said...

Yeah, WSDOT, the folks who "pay your salary" want to know.

Yeah, yeah, I know you hate that term, pay your salary, but how about a durable, "non-spin" response?

In my youth, just a year or two ago, the pass seemingly never closed, and I drove it often, very often going to and fro getting my edumacation in Cougarland..

Seems you are applying prophylaxis to the perceived but not actual, problem.

Geezer thus opines with low expectations of a response.

WSDOT said...

Thanks for the comment. The closure earlier this week on Snoqualmie Pass was due to a combination of things. In just 24 hours, the pass received almost 2 feet of snow, followed by heavy rain and warm temperatures. The increase in temperature and rain caused several natural avalanches and trees to fall. Crews also had to remove several trees that were damaged by snow and ice. During the closure our avalanche specialists conducted several control missions. Safety is our number one priority and the primary reason we closed is because of the natural slides, trees and the likelihood of more avalanches due to the elevated avalanche danger. Although Stevens Pass wasn’t closed as long as Snoqualmie, it closed 2 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon for avalanche control work on Monday. Stevens Pass was also closed for about 7 hours on Wednesday due to natural slides that brought down trees, rocks and other debris, which is the same scenario we saw on Snoqualmie Pass on Monday.

Snoqualmie Pass also gets about 27,000 vehicles a day versus the 5,000 over Stevens Pass. The sheer volume of traffic is what sets Snoqualmie Pass apart from the other passes in our state. During major snow events, collisions and spinouts are the main reasons why we close Snoqualmie Pass in the winter.

The Geezer said...

Volume of traffic is irrelevant. There are typically two separate roadways with between 2 and 4 lanes.

Only when you get to the last paragraph of your response, do you get to a "reason".

Too many clueless drivers, spinning out, and doing collisions. Why not throw up the chains required signs more, not because we need them, but because it may dissuade the clueless masses, with inadequate equipment from going up there?

And you really need to close the sucker to clear the snow off? Used to just blast past the traffic, two plows wide,,,,,,,and Done!!.

Yeah, drive those plows with humongous blades close to the sheeples, and scare the bejesus out of them.

That ought to help get the rif-raff and incapable drivers off the road.

Lordy, sayeth the Geezer.

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