LEAVENWORTH –Saying they haven’t seen conditions like this in 30 years, maintenance crews from the Washington State Department of Transportation have closed US 2 from Stevens Pass to the west end of Leavenworth until it is safe for drivers. Skiers can still get to the pass from the west side. Drivers cannot get to the pass from the east side. The pass is not open to through traffic for east or westbound drivers.
At this time, it’s not clear when it will be open. Crews will reassess conditions this afternoon.
A tree fell onto a vehicle near Rayrock Springs, 15 miles east of Stevens Pass Friday, Dec. 21, closing the road for 2-1/2 hours. Saturday, Dec. 22, a mile further west, a vehicle hit a tree on the highway, closing the highway at 6:25 p.m. and it has not reopened.
“This series of storms has been remarkable,” said Dan Sarles, WSDOT regional administrator for the North Central Region. “The snow is unusually heavy and wet, snapping and uprooting trees at a rate we haven’t seen in decades.”
Maintenance crews on State Route 542 (Mount Baker Highway) reported the same conditions, forcing extended closures as well. Mount Baker Highway closed twice in the last several days due to multiple downed trees. The road reopened this morning, Sunday, Dec. 23 at 9 a.m. after an 11-hour closure.
US 2 carries 5,000 drivers across the pass every day. Drivers who usually take US 2 must detour to US 97, Blewett Pass to connect to I-90 or drivers can take I-90 Snoqualmie Pass.
WSDOT maintenance crews and WSP troopers are working together to assess highway conditions and make the best decision for safety.
“We know this is a busy highway especially right before the holiday,” said Sarles. “The good news is that we have an alternate route in Snoqualmie Pass.”
Conditions at Snoqualmie Pass are good. Extra crews are on I-90 to make sure the east-west route remains open and prepared for heavier than usual traffic. Drivers should come prepared for winter driving across the pass.