The Associated Press
State transportation officials who feared Highway 2 would remain closed between Leavenworth and Stevens Pass announced the passage had reopened late Tuesday.
The 35-mile stretch of highway was closed Saturday after accidents involving downed trees left a Bothell couple dead and several people injured.
At about 3:15 p.m. on Christmas, state transportation officials announced the highway was reopened to traffic.
The highway is one of two primary east-west routes through the mountains usually open during the winter.
About 7,000 to 10,000 drivers cross Stevens Pass on a typical holiday and for much of Christmas, they had to cross the mountains on Snoqualmie and Blewett passes this year.
The Stevens Pass trees bent under snow that fell a week ago. The trees toppled because the ground wasn’t frozen solid enough yet to stabilize the trees under the heavy load, said state Department of Transportation spokesman Jeff Adamson.
The DOT’s maintenance supervisor for Stevens Pass has been working in that area for 30 years and had never seen conditions like he saw before the road reopened, he said.
On Sunday, the transportation department said dozens of trees that had been slumped over the roadway since Saturday had straightened after shedding the excess snow on their branches. They were no longer a threat.
The National Weather Service in Spokane has forecast low temperatures in the teens and 20s through next weekend for the Lake Wenatchee area. But more snow is also predicted, with a 30 percent chance Wednesday.