Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Hazardous conditions keep Snoqualmie Pass closed Wednesday

By Mike Allende

These condition reports were for January 18, 2017 

Winter weather has closed several highways in our state in the past few days -- including I-90 and Snoqualmie Pass. Crews are working hard around the clock to clear the roads, but also must do so safely. We thank everyone for their patience as we continue this work.

Road Closures
Here are the closures in our state. This list will be updated and those updates will be labeled "UPDATE" with a time and date. When a road reopens or situation is cleared, that will be indicated with "REOPENED," “DONE” or "CLEARED."

Interstate 90/Snoqualmie Pass

I-90 UPDATE Jan. 19 5:45 p.m.: I-90 is open both directions. For traction tire requirements and after-hour updates, check -
I-90 UPDATE Jan. 19 4 p.m.: Eastbound lanes are open. Westbound lanes expected to open by 6 p.m. Thursday.
US 2
CLEARED US 2  Jan. 19, 3:35 pm.: The highway is closed from Coles Corner (milepost 85) to Leavenworth (MP 99) due to multiple snow slides.  

Closures resolved for several hours are listed at the bottom of this blog for tracking purposes

UPDATE Jan. 19, 11:25 a.m.:
Conditions on I-90 have improved enough to allow our maintenance crews to start clean-up efforts on Snoqualmie Pass and the highway. This includes clearing dozens of trees that fell onto eastbound lanes as well as clearing ice, snow and other debris.

We are hoping to get the eastbound lanes open Thursday afternoon and that time we'll evaluate the westbound lanes to determine if we can reopen them later this evening.

Excavators and loaders will be used to break up and push the 20 to 30 downed trees in the eastbound lanes. We will also need to take down about 20 to 30 trees in the westbound lanes that have heavy ice build-up. We also did avalanche control west of the summit this morning to remove unstable snow.

Significantly hazardous road conditions have both directions of I-90 closed between North Bend and Ellensburg at least through Thursday morning. State Route 14 in the Gorge also was closed most of the day while crews assess hazardous conditions there, but it reopened as of 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Ice buildup brought down dozens of trees on I-90 between North Bend and Ellensburg.

Snoqualmie Pass
The highway initially closed Tuesday night, Jan. 18 as heavy ice accumulation led to dozens of trees falling and leading to unstable slope conditions along the highway. Conditions were so hazardous that our crews were not able to operate along the highway to attempt to clear snow, ice and debris. Our crews reevaluated the situation at first light on Wednesday but found that it was still too dangerous to allow our workers and the traveling public to go through. So we will reevaluate the conditions again on Thursday morning.
Until I-90 reopens, drivers can use alternate routes such as US 12 over White Pass, US 2 over Stevens Pass and US 97 over Blewett Pass but they should be prepared for winter conditions and check our pass reports before heading out.

While opening up the roadway is a goal, safety is always our top priority, both for our workers and the public, and until we are confident that the roadway is safe, we will keep it closed. The conditions we're seeing on Snoqualmie Pass are similar to what we saw a few years ago on US 2 which resulted in some fatalities so we are taking every precaution we can to keep everyone safe. The weather forecast calls for more freezing rain and snow through Thursday morning so it's impossible to guess when conditions will clear up enough to reopen.

Multiple snow slides combined with dozens of downed trees led us to
close I-90 between North Bend and Ellensburg Tuesday night.

Heavy snow, downed trees and hazardous road conditions kept SR 14, in the Columbia River Gorge between Washougal and the Hood River Bridge, closed most of the day. Crews worked through the night Tuesday and during the day Wednesday to reopen the highway. Weather conditions mean freight traffic is still restricted from this highway.

Crews have been working 24/7 to reopen SR 14 in the Columbia River
Gorge which was hit with heavy snow and downed trees.

We will update you here about closures and re-openings.

Previous Closures (items marked DONE have been resolved and the roadways reopened)

DONE -- US 101 Port Angeles
US 101 along Lake Crescent (milepost 228.5) closed earlier today due to a downed boulder.

DONE -- State Route 14
Highway along the Columbia Gorge was closed Wednesday.

We know having highways closed is frustrating but safety will always be our top priority and we appreciate your understanding and patience as we make sure our crews are safe while we work to reopen these roadways.


Unknown said...

Sweet update

Bebop said...

Be careful, crews! Looks like hard work, thank you.

lisan said...

Ditto! Be safe (crews) and thank you WSDOT for the updates and pictures.

unknown said...

Just let us know when they guys are doing great.thank you by the way.

Unknown said...

Be safe crews, we need you. Thx. Eburg

drazon said...

Thank you for your hard work, it's appreciated.

Sandy said...

Appreciating all the photos and updates, be safe.

Ellisonf1234 said...

WSDOT are heros of the highways. Stay safe! Bless you all.

Unknown said...

Got to give massive handshakes to all the wash dot crews across the state for keeping us updated and rolling safe ! I just wish OREGON would pull their heads outta their bottom ends and follow suit with wsdot on weather related cleanups ! Thank you wait ! Always be safe !

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