US 2 remains closed due to snowy conditions, fallen trees

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Highway 2 from Stevens Pass to Leavenworth will remain closed due to downed trees on the roadway and snowy conditions.

 

The closure started Saturday evening from Milepost 64 at the Stevens Pass summit to Milepost 99 at the west end of Leavenworth.

 

Crews were hoping to have it open sometime on Monday, but more trees crashed overnight. 

 

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

 

“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.”

 

On Saturday evening, five people were injured after a tree landed on their vehicle at Milepost 77.

 

Another falling tree struck a vehicle Friday afternoon at Milepost 78, which killed two people and injured four.

 

According to Washington State Department of Transportation officials, conditions were evaluated Sunday morning, and due to too many snow-laden, leaning trees, the highway did not reopen.

 

“This series of storms has been remarkable,” said Sarles. “The snow is unusually heavy and wet, snapping and uprooting trees at a rate we haven’t seen in decades.”

 

Crews are working to reduce potential trees falling and will monitor weather and road conditions.  Monday's break in the weather will be the crews' best chance to clear any downed trees and branches from highway.  

 

The DOT said it hopes to have the pass opened by Monday afternoon.

 

The Stevens Pass ski area is open with limited operations.  On Christmas Eve, it will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and on Christmas Day it will open at 9 a.m.  The closure time on Christmas Day will depend on the status of Highway 2, the ski area's website said.

 

In the meantime, WSDOT said motorists can access the Stevens Pass Ski Area from the west, but through-traffic is advised to use Interstate 90 at Snoqualmie Pass and US 97 at Blewett Pass.