Rain, slides close Pierce County roads

Tacoma News TribuneFebruary 18, 2014 

UPDATE as of 10 p.m.: Snoqualmie Pass reopened, the state Department of Transportation said.

INITIAL POST: Stormy weather caused mud slides Tuesday that closed multiple Pierce County roads.

Aseries of slides that started Monday shut down a section of state Route 509 in Tacoma.

As rocks continued to fall Tuesday, crews decided to keep Marine View Drive between East 11th Street and Slayden Road closed overnight, with plans to reevaluate Wednesday morning.

One big slide occurred in the 4200 block of Marine View Drive/state Route 509 and covered nearly the entire road.

Southbound Schuster Parkway in Tacoma was also closed Tuesday, but crews had the road open about 7:30 p.m.

A slide about 3 p.m. shut down the southbound lanes between McCarver Street and the access to Dock Street downtown.

“It’s been a few years since we’ve had them there,” said Matt Fengler, assistant manager of street operations, about the Schuster slide. “It’s just the saturation, with the rain we’ve had over the last few days.”

In Edgewood, a portion of Jovita Boulevard was closed overnight Tuesday because of landslide hazards. The closure  extended from 114th Avenue East to West Valley Highway. The road was expected to be reopened after 6 a.m. Wednesday, as long as no additional slides occurred overnight. 

The closures were among effects from a parade of mid-February storms that has been marching across Washington on strong winds, steady rains and heavy mountain snow.

About 3 feet of snow has fallen since Friday at Snoqualmie Pass, and another 2 to 4 feet of snow are expected by Thursday, said meteorologist Chris Burke in the National Weather Service office in Seattle.

“We’ve been getting a storm once every 24 hours since Friday,” he said.

A winter storm warning was in effect until Wednesday morning in the Washington Cascade passes. The National Weather Service expected 1 to 2 feet of new snow.

Avalanche control closed Interstate 90 across Snoqualmie Pass Tuesday morning. The highway reopened but later was closed again in both directions between North Bend and Easton because of multiple spinouts and disabled vehicles.

Tuesday’s storm will be followed by another vigorous frontal system on Wednesday night and Thursday, the National Weather Service said, adding the storm parade might pause this weekend.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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