WSDOT wraps up rock blasting on I-90 for 2010

SNOQUALMIE PASS, Wash. - Rock blasting has stopped for the year on the portion of Interstate 90 east of the pass and just before the snow shed and will pick up again next spring.

The Washington State Department of Transportation says the current phase of the expansion remains on-time and on-budget.

In the first year, workers have moved 500,000 tons of mountain side. Thursday marked the end of the first half of this step in the overall phase of creating six new lanes on the interstate.

Will Smith is a WSDOT engineer based in Yakima and says so far the biggest challenge for crews has been dealing with their workspace.

"It's a tough place to work," he said. "The mountain, the lake, and the traffic, and trying to stay in compliance with all the environmental rules we got to follow."

Crews will keep working for a few more weeks so expect minor delays up by the pass. Conditions should be normal for the winter by the time the holidays arrive, Smith said.

Drivers will likely start checking pass conditions as the weather changes in the mountains but WSDOT says anyone traveling across the state should get in the habit of checking year round with ongoing construction.

This phase of the expansion is set for completion in 2013.

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