Keeping freight moving during major transportation disruptions is key to supporting the state’s economy and jobs, and to ensure that essential needs are met. The Commercial Vehicle Emergency Detour Pass system is intended to support freight movement by authorizing emergency, essential, and other goods delivery through affected areas during emergency highway disruption of two to seven days.
The state will activate the system when major freight highways are closed or severely restricted, and a limited-capacity detour is available nearby. Passes will be issued based on the highway detour’s capacity and the priority of goods carried, as determined by the State Emergency Operation Center during an emergency. Detour Passes will not be issued until the Washington State Department of Transportation has determined the detour route to be safe, potentially on the second or third day after the highway closure.
In the event of an emergency, truck drivers and companies can request and receive passes online. Request a Detour Pass to travel on a detour route during emergency conditions.
Detour Passes will be categorized according to the following prioritized order:
Category A: Emergency supplies. Goods related to disaster relief for the affected communities and the recovery of transportation, energy and other public services. The specific types of goods will be determined by the Washington State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) during the event and posted online.
Category B: Essential supplies including:
- Healthcare supplies
- Food and water
- Perishable goods: livestock and feed for livestock
- Empty trucks resupplying essential goods
- Parcel trucks
Category C: All other goods. Detour Passes will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis if the detour has available capacity.
Detour Passes will be authorized in real-time based on the prioritized categories. They will be issued for a three-hour time window on a specific date, and trucks arriving before or after that time period will not be allowed access to the detour.
Passes will only be valid for the date and time period indicated on the pass, and if conditions change and a safe detour is no longer available, they will be revoked. Under those conditions, WSDOT will notify the pass holder via e-mail.
Once a pass is authorized online and printed at the users’ location, the commercial vehicle driver may proceed to the highway traffic control check point any time during the three-hour window on the date indicated on the Detour Pass. The pass will be affixed to the truck cab window and used to authorize entry onto detours at highway checkpoints.
Random spot checks will be administered at vehicle check points to enforce the system. If a commercial vehicle doesn’t display a valid pass and appears at the check point, they will not be allowed access to the detour and will be turned around.
The National Guard, Washington State Patrol, and WSDOT will staff traffic control points to verify that the Detour Pass displayed in the truck window authorizes the truck’s use of the detour for that particular date, time and route. Those without valid passes will be turned around.
The WSP will conduct spot inspections of bills of lading to ensure compliance. Spot checks will be used since 100 percent inspection of each truck to verify the contents would slow traffic to a full stop. Truck drivers should be prepared for wait lines at check points and have their bill of lading documents on hand for spot checks.