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State Highway crews slowly reopen roads across Puget Sound

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Date:  Saturday, January 21, 2012

Contact: Contacts: Patrick Conrad, WSDOT communications manager, 206-440-4788(Seattle)
Kelly Stowe, WSDOT communications, 360-507-1854 (Tacoma)

SHORELINE - Washington State highway crews continue to get roads back in good shape after seven straight days of snow, ice, sleet, wind and rain.

“Drivers are anxious to have things back to normal and we are working to make that happen,” said Dave McCormick, regional maintenance manager for the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Crews are steadily reopening sections of road once they are cleared of slush and trees.

  • State Route 900 reopened at 3:15 p.m. Friday.
  • State Route 410 reopened at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
  • The Tacoma Narrows Bridge reopened by 8:20 p.m Friday.
  • State Route 18 reopened at 2 p.m. Saturday.
  • State Route 202 reopened at 4:15 p.m. Saturday.

Hundreds of trees fell,” said McCormick. Maintenance crews from Bellingham, Mount Vernon and Everett headed to the hardest hit areas to speed up the clearing process. “It’s the worst we’ve seen in the last several years.”

Anticipating warming temperatures, other crews spent the night removing sand, slush, tree branches and other debris from storm drains.

Power is still a problem for thousands of people and WSDOT traffic engineers. Engineers can’t see cameras or gather in-road sensor data on large sections of I-5 and SR 167 south of Southcenter. Backup generators are in place at the communications hub but the power to the individual systems is still down. There’s no estimate when those systems will be up and running.

Stay informed

Drivers are working to stay informed by using the WSDOT website. Each day of the storm, the website has logged more than eight million page views with thousands more signing up for the WSDOT twitter feeds. The most popular web pages are the WSDOT traffic maps and mountain pass pages.

Know before you go

  • WSDOT offers several ways to get up-to-date weather, traffic and construction information before hitting the road.
  • Carry chains and know the traction and chain requirements.
  • Call 511. WSDOT’s driver information phone line provides real-time traffic, incident and closure information. Out-of-state callers can dial 1-800-695-ROAD (7623). TTY users can call 1-800-833-6388. 
  • Sign up for email updates and social media tools such as Facebook.
  • Follow us on Twitter - @wsdot, @wsdot_traffic, @wsdot_passes, @wsdot_tacoma, @SnoqualmiePass.

On the road

  • Overhead and roadside electronic signs provide emergency and incident alerts and point-to-point travel times in some Seattle-area locations during rush hours. Use roadside travel time signs to help judge the time to reach your destination.
  • Highway advisory radios allow drivers to hear updates when the flashing lights along the highway are activated. Program 530 AM and 1610 AM on your radio before you leave and tune in when signs are flashing.
  • Ask a passenger to use one of the many Mobile Applications available.

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