Snoqualmie Pass avalanche bridge completed in Washington state

WSDOT officials expect bridge to lessen road closures due to avalanches

November 17, 2017
WSDOT snow bridge

Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) workers completed a second avalanche bridge on I-90 this past week in an eight-year effort to increase safety and traffic flow on Snoqualmie Pass.

The effort is part of phase one of a 15-mile project, stretching from Hyak to Easton. Phase one covers the first five miles from Hyak to Keechelus Dam and focuses on stabilizing rock slopes, expanding chain-up and chain-off areas and widening I-90 by adding a lane on either side of the road in addition to the new avalanche bridges.

The $551 million project was funded by a 2005 gas tax. The first three miles were completed in 2013 and the remaining are scheduled to be complete in 2018.

WSDOT officials indicated the project originally came about because of constant road closures caused by avalanche threats. The new bridges allow avalanches to pass harmlessly underneath, causing less closures for future winters.

Phase two will cover the next two miles of the corridor from Keechelus Dam to the Stampede Pass interchange. Project savings from phase one provided $108 million to widen I-90, build and replace bridges, stabilize rock slopes and build the first wildlife overcrossing in the project corridor.

Construction started in 2015 and is scheduled to be complete in 2019.

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Source: The Daily Evergreen

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