US Highway 97 Closure Leaves People Frustrated with Longer Routes - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

US Highway 97 Closure Leaves People Frustrated with Longer Routes

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TOPPENISH, Wash.--As crews continue to battle the "Mile Marker 28 Fire," Highway 97 from Toppenish to Goldendale remains closed indefinitely.

The Department Of Transportation said that particular stretch of highway sees about 3,500 vehicles per day and 25 percent of that traffic is freight related.

The DOT said spot fires, heavy smoke and dangerous trees are keeping crews from reopening the highway.

Zach Dorr, the CEO of the Toppenish Chamber of Commerce, said they've been getting a lot of "out-of-towners" and locals coming in with concerns about what alternate routes to take. Those drivers are also frustrated that the detours will likely add an extra two to three hours of travel time.

"Since they closed the road, we've probably had over 100 people in here coming through the doors, just asking for a reroute or if they could purchase a map," said Dorr. "Or if I just had any advice on where to go. A lot of people saying that when they plug in their GPS, there's really no alternate routes to take."

The "Mile Marker 28 Fire" near Goldendale has now charred more than 20,000 acres, but crews said containment is also up at 25 percent.

Firefighters said they should be able to make decent progress Monday since weather conditions are more favorable, and they were able to strengthen their fire lines all through Sunday.

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