LEAVENWORTH — Highway 2 reopened at 4 p.m., just as transportation planners promised, after snowslides blocked off the westbound lane in the afternoon.
Washington Deparment of Transportation spokesman Jeff Adamson said the three-hour shutdown ended after the lowering sun allowed stacked snow to cool and stabilize on the western slope of Tumwater Canyon.
A slide covered the westbound lane at milepost 97 about 1 p.m., forcing the initial closure between the mouth of Tumwater and Highway 207 at Coles Corner.
Just as crews were close to removing the snow and debris and clearing the lane, two more slides fell about 2 p.m. — one at either end of the cleaned-up section. The slide danger prompted crews to keep the highway closure in effect until 4 p.m..
“The avalanche crew determined because of the angle of the sun banging into that slope, it was going to stay that way until about 4 o’clock,” Adamson said.
Traffic was still able to bypass the affected area during the shutdown, via Chumstick Highway through Plain to Highway 207.