Stevens Pass reopens after crews moved massive amounts of snow, ice

STEVENS PASS, Wash. — After the Washington State Department of Transportation cleared and reopened Stevens Pass and Tumwater Canyon Thursday morning, U.S. 2 was closed later that night due to snowslides.

It reopened around 7 a.m. Friday after crews clear the highway.

As of Thursday, it had been a week since the pass was forced to shut down during last week’s record-breaking snowfall, followed by drenching rain this week.

Since the closure, crews have had to deal with dangerous and difficult conditions to get the road ready for traffic again.

WSDOT said crews saw some of the largest snowslides in recent memory. To complicate issues, the slides were full of trees, rocks and debris, which required equipment other than snow blowers to clear.

In Tumwater Canyon, crews had to clear more than 200 snowslides.

There was also the issue of avalanche danger during the roadwork. Heavy rain on Tuesday created further avalanche danger on the west side of the pass and created new slides in Tumwater Canyon. The safety risks caused crews to be pulled out of the area.

On Wednesday morning, avalanche control work was completed, but it caused more snow and large debris to come down onto the highway.

There were also areas that had 4-inch-thick slabs of ice that needed to be removed.