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Key Cross-State Route In Washington To Stay Closed Until Midweek

Washington Dept. of Transportation

A key cross-state highway in Washington will stay closed at least into Wednesday, forcing long Christmastime detours. US Highway 2 is barricaded between Stevens Pass and Leavenworth. The state Department of Transportation says unusually heavy and wet snow is snapping and uprooting trees at a rate they haven't seen in decades.

Traffic management supervisor Shellee Ludeman says highway crews are waiting for a helicopter to help them clear the route.

"We are not working in the area right now because of the danger of falling trees. Wednesday morning we're bringing in some different kinds of equipment and we'll get started then."

Ludeman says traffic is unusually heavy on an alternate route over Blewett Pass, but that roadway is clear. Skiers can still get to the Stevens Pass Ski Area from the west side.

Before US Highway 2 was closed on Saturday, one car crashed into a fallen tree and another car was crushed by one. The more serious accident killed two people on Friday.

On the Web:

Stevens Pass conditions (Washington Dept. of Transportation)

Now semi-retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.