Avalanche danger has closed Snoqualmie Pass, and WSDOT does not have an estimate of when it will reopen. "The message for drivers: If you don’t have to go today, don’t," a WSDOT spokeswoman said.

Share story

UPDATE 8:05 P.M.: I-90 on Snoqualmie Pass is open in both directions. Traction tires advised.

EARLIER POST:

After another round of winter weather in the mountains, the Washington State Department of Transportation closed both Interstate 90 through Snoqualmie Pass and Highway 2 due to avalanche concerns Thursday.

Highway 2 is also closed from Tumwater Canyon to Coles Corner, but the Chumstick Highway can be used as a detour. Earlier on Thursday, WSDOT closed another stretch of the highway just east of Stevens Pass for avalanche-control work that was finished before 11 a.m. More work may be needed later.

More on today’s weather woes

WSDOT spokeswoman Andrea Flatley said drivers should be prepared if they get stuck traveling by carrying chains, shovels, extra food, water and extra clothing.

I-90 is closed from North Bend to Ellensburg, and WSDOT officials said it will likely be closed all day. WSDOT spokeswoman Summer Derrey said a small, loose snow slide came down as crews worked on the roadway early Thursday.

Derrey said it’s been a problematic winter for avalanche conditions near Snoqualmie Pass. As part of a road-widening project from Hyak to Keechelus Dam, contractors removed an avalanche shed that covered two westbound lanes on the interstate.

“When we removed that snowshed up east on I-90, we head a feeling we would have more frequent closures,” she said. Now, “there’s no protection. There’s higher concern. We are closing it more frequently.”

WSDOT is widening lanes and building avalanche bridges to allow snowy debris and runoff to travel beneath the roadway in a slide. Derrey said the agency hopes to open the avalanche bridges this summer.

With warming temperatures and rain in the forecast, Derrey said avalanche conditions could remain a problem into Friday.

“The message for drivers: If you don’t have to go today, don’t,” Derrey said. “If you do need to travel, choose White Pass or I-84.”

Interstate 84 runs east from Portland along the Columbia River Gorge.

Highway 12, which goes through White Pass, was closed last year after flooding washed away part of the roadway. Repair work is ongoing, and flaggers or traffic lights are directing traffic through a single lane near at the pass.

“We’re trying to figure out a way to reduce the wait,” Derrey said.

Travelers can check mountain passes on the transportation department’s website.