Snowfall causes traffic issues in mountain passes

by: Natasha Chen Updated:


SNOQUALMIE PASS, Wash. - Drivers going through Snoqualmie Pass this weekend were treated to at least 7 inches of snow, in some spots triggering dangerous road conditions.

The Washington Department of Transportation advised traction tires or chains. When the advisory is elevated to require traction tires, vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds also require chains.

Different advisory levels are explained here:

Trucks without the proper chains per axel could be fined or towed.

Samson Bekele said one of his chains was lost on the road.

“So the tire got spinning and I couldn’t drive anymore,” he said.

A state trooper called a tow truck to haul his 18-wheeler off the freeway.

“He brought me from exit 50 to 52, which is 2 miles. Now they’re going to charge me close to $800,” Bekele said.

He did not get a ticket, though. Another truck driver familiar with winter weather driving said a fine for lack of chains could run up to $500.

“I have not seen that happen. I don’t want to see it happen,” Thomas Maloney said.

Maloney had to stop at the Snoqualmie summit overnight,when one of his chains was not fitted properly.

“When you’re not comfortable, regardless, you get off the road,” he said.

Maloney also helped a family from Idaho that did not know they would be hitting snow in the mountains this weekend.

But Jan Lowell, from Yakima, saw the forecast on the news.

“We brought pillows and blankets, and food and coffee, and drinks, wine, in case we were stuck for a while,” Lowell said.

Since she and her husband were well prepared, they decided to enjoy the snowfall.

“We had the sunroof open for a while. It was so pretty and the snow just went right over. It was a little chilly, but we have seat warmers, so it was fun,” she said.