KITTITAS, Wash. — Eastbound Interstate 90 was closed 16 miles east of Ellensburg for much of Wednesday due to a 38-vehicle crash likely caused by freezing fog and low visibility, troopers and fire officials said.
Investigators say the pileup began when a vehicle lost traction and came to rest in the roadway, blocking all the lanes.
Washington State Patrol and Washington State Department of Transportation crews began working to close the stretch of highway at around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday. The interstate was closed at milepost 115, east of Kittitas.
Just after 2 p.m., WSDOT tweeted that eastbound I-90 at milepost 115 was estimated to reopen at 4 p.m., with crews making good progress in clearing the wrecks.
WSDOT announced the highway had reopened just before 3:30 p.m.
Five people were treated and taken to hospitals in Quincy and Ellensburg with relatively minor injuries, Kittitas Valley Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief Rich Elliott said.
Elliott estimated that there were 45 to 50 vehicles within the three-quarter-mile footprint of the crash scene, many with some kind of damage, although most were not directly involved.
“If you’re planning a trip from the Puget Sound area across Snoqualmie Pass toward Spokane, you may want to delay your travel for quite a while or seek alternate routes in the meantime,” the WSP tweeted at around 7 a.m..
WSP said drivers will have to detour via local roads, U.S. 2 over Stevens Pass or U.S. 12 over White Pass.
Last Sunday, eastbound I-90 was closed near Easton after a crash involving 15 vehicles.
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