********** UPDATE ********** 12/06/2007 – 09:40 AM – According to Washington State DOT Officials, I-5 will NOT reopen until at least this weekend. A twenty mile stretch of I-5, between Mileposts 68 and 88, will remain closed until crews can remove mud and assess damaged portions of the freeway. Parts of I-5 were covered in up to 10 feet of water as the Chehalis River rose to a record flood level of over 54 feet. WADOT also states that the ONLY alternative route between Portland and Seattle for commercial trucks is I84 – I82 – I90. Routes 12 and 97 are NOT advised and to expect lengthy delays traversing these routes. The total out-of-route mileage for the detour is approximately 273 miles according to WADOT. Updates on the I-5 closure will be posted as events and conditions change. Today, Seattle and Portland are bracing for more rain as a new Pacific Storm enters the Northwest. JB

** BREAKING NEWS ** – Chehalis, Washington – During the past two days, many of you know that Washington and Oregon have been pounded by a severe winter storm that has damaged hundreds of homes, businesses and roadways. Gov. Chris. Gregoire declared a state of emergency for the State of Washington and has closed Interstate 5 northbound and southbound until at least Thursday near Chehalis, Washington. Chehalis is a small town along I-5 near milepost 72. Due to the remote area of this town, many of the surrounding roads are not capable of handling large amounts of commercial truck traffic.

Gov. Chris. Gregoire has asked all commercial trucks and trucking companies make plans to alter their routes at least through the end of the week, December 7th. If you are coming out of Southern California to Washington, consider using I-15, US 93, US 95 or US 97 as alternate routes to the Seattle area and Vancouver, BC. From I-15, US 93 or US 95, merge onto I-84 and head west towards Portland, Oregon. Follow I-84 to I-82 near Hermiston, Oregon, go west on I-82 through Yakima to Ellensburg, Washington. At Ellensburg, go west on I-90 and follow to Seattle. At Seattle, you can join I-5 again and continue on your route. Be advised, you must carry chains, at least 6 (3 sets), to legally travel over Snoqualmie Pass on I-90. Chains are available for about $100 per set at most truck stops including the Flying J and Pilot in Ellensburg, WA. If you are coming to Seattle from Northern California, Central or Southern Oregon or the Portland area, an alternate route is to travel east on I-84 to Biggs Junction, milepost 104 to US 97. Go over the bridge and follow US 97 north through Toppenish, WA to I-82. Go west on I-82 to Ellensburg and go west on I-90 to Seattle. Unfortunately, these alternate routes will add at least 200-300 miles to your route, but it will get you to where you are going in a timely manner.

In a press conference heard on CNN today, Gov. Chris. Gregoire stated that the economic impact of the closure of I-5 amounts to at least $4 million per 24 hour period. I would hope that we could all help in this matter and plan ahead and use the alternate routes to relieve the congestion and impact that this has had on Chehalis and Washington as a whole.

For more news and information about the storms, visit the Seattle Times. They have maps, photos and the latest listings of road closures.

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