Crews clear fallen trees, SR 206 reopens up to Mt. Spokane ski area

WSDOTcrews pick up fallen trees along State Rout 206 near Mt. Spokane
WSDOTcrews pick up fallen trees along State Rout 206 near Mt. Spokane. Credit: WSDOT East

MEAD, Wash. — The Washington State Department of Transportation reopened State Route 206 from milepost 8 up to the Mt. Spokane Ski Area just before 2:15 p.m. Monday.

A tree covered in heavy snow toppled over a car nearby Sunday afternoon, crushing the driver’s windshield. The man walked away from the scene unharmed, but crews were forced to close the roadway Monday at 3 a.m. when they got reports of even more downed trees and branches.

WSDOT crews worked for nearly 12 hours to clear debris and cut down limbs hanging over an eight-mile stretch of road.

“When I’m looking up at the trees, I’m looking for a weighted tree that has a bend to it or an arching over the roadway and with the amount of snow on it… If the snow hasn’t released from it, it can certainly break or snap at any time,” said WSDOT operations and maintenance superintendent Ernie Sims. “If there’s trees bending in the dark, your visibility isn’t that wide at nighttime, you can’t see the dangers outside of whatever lighting you may have.”

According to a tweet from WSDOT East, traffic has reopened up to the summit of the ski area. Drivers were urged to use caution on the roads.