A major bottleneck in Ellensburg and other central Washington towns is loosening up as two of the main Cascade mountain highway passes reopened Friday. Snow slides and danger of avalanche forced the unusual closure of White, Stevens and Snoqualmie passes all at once.
Stranded travelers like Craig Peters of Kent, Washington, filled hotels overnight. Peters was was stuck in Ellensburg for a day and a half and said he got one of the last rooms in town.
“Oh I’m really bored,” he said. “Been watching TV, about all I can do.“
“Ellensburg is full,” Peters added. “There’s 18-wheelers, there’s contractors there’s average people. All the restaurants are full. Starbucks is packed. People can’t go anywhere -- so we’re just sitting.”
Snoqualmie and Stevens passes are now open in both directions, but a number of collisions have caused delays of up to two hours and 30 miles of back up on I-90 westbound.
US-12 at White Pass is scheduled to reopen by 3 p.m..