WSDOT Puts Brakes on Snowshed, Green Lights Bridges
HYAK, WASH.- The Washington Department of Transportation has decided to replace the snowshed on Interstate 90 near Snoqualmie Pass with two elevated bridges. The original design called for building a wider snowshed as part of the 15 mile corridor improvement project.
When complete, the new bridges will take traffic up and over a series of engineered avalanche paths designed to direct future sliding snow, rock and debris between the piers and towards Keechelus Lake.
WSDOT says the design will reduce the number of closures of I-90 due to avalanche control work as well as reduce maintenance and operations costs.
"This change will actually save WSDOT approximately $650,000 per year that would have been used to maintain fire and life safety systems in the snowshed," said Don Whitehouse, WSDOT regional administrator. "The innovative design of the new bridges will keep I-90 open during the winter."
Workers will begin building the bridges later this year.