Blewett Pass not a good option for holiday traveling

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Washington State Department of Transportation photo

State Patrol says there have been blizzard-like conditions

Blewett Pass was closed for about four hours this morning and conditions remain tenuous this afternoon, with Trooper John Bryant of the Washington State Patrol saying there are blizzard-like conditions in places.

Bryant is recommending motorists take the Quincy route “if you are not prepared or do not have the confidence to drive in these conditions.”

The pass was closed in both directions just before 6 a.m. after some semis got stuck near the summit. It wasn’t until almost 10 a.m. that the highway was cleared and reopened.

Chains have been required on all vehicles, except all-wheel drives, since the highway reopened. And oversized-vehicles are prohibited.

The compact snow and ice on the roadway comes just as heavy pre-Thanksgiving traffic is picking up on area highways.

Traveling over Stevens Pass is better, though traction tires are advised for the compact snow and ice in places.

Unlike Blewett, it’s no longer snowing on Stevens.

Snoqualmie Pass, where holiday traffic is heaviest, is having no travel problems, with mostly bare and dry roadway.

Snowy and slick conditions also caused havoc in Spokane late Tuesday afternoon, with a 60-car pileup on Interstate 90 just west of downtown.

The westbound lanes of the freeway backed up for miles as the accident scene was cleared.

The State Patrol said six people were taken to area hospitals, though none with serious injuries.

Spokane Transit also took about 30 motorists to a local Shriners to get warm, the Washington Department of Transportation reported.