US Highway 2 closed from Stevens Pass to the west end of Leavenworth

With dozens of snow-laden trees still slumped over the highway, the Washington State Department of Transportation is keeping US Highway 2 closed from Stevens Pass to the west end of Leavenworth.

Skiers can still get to the summit from the west side, but cannot continue east toward Leavenworth. Through traffic must detour via US 97 Blewett Pass andInterstate 90 Snoqualmie Pass.

“At least four more large trees crashed to the roadway overnight, and there is no way to estimate a reopening time,” said WSDOT regional administrator Dan Sarles. “Given what has happened at the pass, this is the right decision to make for the safety of drivers and our workers.”

The forecast tonight calls for clear and cold conditions, which means snow will freeze to branches and trees will not be able to shed their snow load. Wednesday’s forecast calls for another 8 inches of snow at Stevens Pass.

If the dangerous conditions continue, WSDOT plans to bring in a large helicopter to attempt blow snow from the trees on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in the state, crews are preparing for a snowy Christmas morning. In Mason County, weather forecasters predict up to six inches of snowfall in the Hood Canal area. The west side of Hood Canal is more likely to see snow accumulation. WSDOT maintenance crews will be out treating the roads and plowing snow as necessary.

Conditions at Snoqualmie Pass are good today; however, up to 10 inches of new snow is forecast for Christmas Day. Extra crews are standing by to ensure I-90 remains open and ready for heavier-than-usual traffic. Drivers should come prepared for winter driving across the pass.

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