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Westbound Lanes Of I-90 Reopen After Multiple Avalanches

Official NWS forecast Feb. 14, 2019.
Weather Forecast Office Missoula, MT.
Official NWS forecast Feb. 14, 2019.

All westbound lanes of Interstate 90 between St. Regis and the state line at Lookout Pass are now reopened for traffic.

Multiple avalanches and the threat of more slides disrupted highway traffic along that 34 miles stretch of critical highway since Wednesday afternoon.

Montana Department of Transportation’s Ed Toaves tells Montana Public Radio all barriers have now been removed.

"However, we are getting snowfall up there which means that’s going to be added weight to some of those steep slopes in the DeBorgia, Saltese, Haugen areas. Those are areas that in the past have been prone to avalanche activity. So we are keeping an eye on it. We are monitoring it.” 

Toaves says should conditions worsen, officials are prepared to again shut down the highway on a moment’s notice. If that happens they may decide to artificially trigger snow slides.

“We may have to charge some of those slopes and trigger the potential avalanches, ahead of time, which would mean closures and disruptions, so that is a potential in the future, but as of right now, we are opening the westbound lanes."

I-90’s eastbound lanes were closed earlier Thursday due to a crash involving a semi-truck. Those lanes have since reopened.

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