NORTH BEND, Wash. - Mother Nature leaves a soggy and snowy mark on the region as the whirlwind of 2020 comes to an end. Heavy mountain snow stalled eastbound traffic for hours on I-90 near Snoqualmie Pass, Wednesday. People looking to ring in the New Year on the slopes or travel across the mountain passes are dealing with dangerous travel conditions.
Washington State Department of Transportation reported roads on the interstate were snow-packed, slushy, and icy. Traction tires were required in both directions, and vehicles of 10,000 gross weight were required to use chains. Some drivers stuck in the gridlock used the long wait to chain up.
"So I don’t get stuck or don’t get a ticket. I failed to put them on last year and got a $509 ticket," said semi-truck driver John Olsick who was hauling a French Fry shipment to Japan.
Washington State Patrol said troopers responded to 61 calls, most of them were spinouts. So far, no injuries were reported. WSP said all drivers should have chains in their cars through April 1, even if they have traction tires. Troopers will be patrolling the holiday weekend as more people make plans to visit the pass.
WSDOT is advising drivers to not use cruise control in the snow, leave extra room between the car ahead, slow down earlier when approaching intersections, give plows extra space to work and always watch for people chaining up on the side of the roads.
"Slow down, pay attention and don’t think you’re the only one out there because you’re not," said Olsick.
More winter driving safety tips are listed on WSDOT's website.