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Road crews continue clearing roads of snow and storm debris

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Date:  Thursday, January 19, 2012

Contact: Melanie Coon, WSDOT Communications, 360-570-2336 (Olympia)
Steve Pierce, Communications Director, 360-705-7076 (Olympia)

OLYMPIA – Commutes will remain difficult through the night and into Friday as this winter storm continues to pack a punch.

Many state highways continue to have areas of snow, slush and ice, and there are many areas with trees down across the road. Western Washington temperatures are not expected to start rising above freezing until Friday morning, Jan. 20.

Washington State Department of Transportation crews have been in storm-fighting mode since Saturday, working around the clock to treat and clear roads across the state.

Storm Impacts:

  • Travelers using I-90 westbound, east of Snoqualmie Pass, tonight will encounter continued delays because of a multi-vehicle collision. The westbound lanes remain closed west of Ellensburg.
  • Avalanche control is expected overnight on US 2 Stevens Pass.
  • WSDOT traffic cameras in Pierce, Thurston and Kitsap counties are out, due to power outages in the Tacoma area.
  • For a complete list of road closures in Puget Sound, visit WSDOT’s What’s Happening Now Web page.
  • Early Thursday morning, a WSDOT Incident Response worker was injured on southbound I-405 near Mill Creek while assisting a spun-out driver. The worker was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He sustained several broken bones, and is expected to make a full recovery. The incident closed southbound I-405 for several hours.

WSDOT advises drivers:

  • When snow and cold temperatures mix with heavy commutes, drivers should expect backups and potentially lengthy delays.
  • Drivers can prepare for snow and ice by checking travel and roadway conditions on the WSDOT website and packing winter weather supplies, including tire chains.
  • Staying in? Have a full tank of gas, just in case. Going out? Pack tire chains and a winter car kit and drive for conditions.

Know before you go

  • WSDOT offers several ways to get up-to-date weather, traffic and construction information before hitting the road.
  • WSDOT's website experienced slowdowns due to significant traffic from quadruple the normal use. Technicians are working on the site, so keep trying.
  • Carry chains and know the traction and chain requirements.
  • Call 511. WSDOT’s driver information phone line provides real-time traffic, incident and closure information. Out-of-state callers can dial 1-800-695-ROAD (7623). TTY users can call 1-800-833-6388.
  • Sign up for email updates and social media tools such as Facebook.
  • Follow traveler information on Twitter @wsdot, @wsdot_traffic, @wsdot_passes, @wsdot_tacoma, @SnoqualmiePass.

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