Construction along Lake Keechelus

The earth is moving at Snoqualmie Pass

Drivers make their way east of Snoqualmie Pass among heavy earth-moving machines, with glimpses of workers clinging to steep hillsides above Lake Keechelus. From Hyak at exit 54 to Lake Easton at exit 70, Interstate 90 is becoming a whole new kind of highway.

I-90 is the state’s busiest east-west transportation and freight corridor, carrying more than 27,000 vehicles each day – and double that on weekends and holidays – over the Cascades.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is adding a third lane in each direction to reduce traffic congestion, replacing a snowshed to avoid road closures due to winter avalanches, making significant safety improvements, and building innovative bridges and underpasses for wildlife to cross safely.

Underpass for wildlife at Gold Creek
Underpass for wildlife at Gold Creek

Snoqualmie Pass is a critical place for wildlife. Elk, bear, wolves, deer, pikas, frogs and salamanders traverse the pass. To keep critters (and drivers!) safe, WSDOT has built a massive bridge over Gold Creek, and will add additional crossings and a vegetated wildlife overpass at Price Creek near exit 62, creating safe passage across the highway for animals.With support of many agencies and partner organizations, WSDOT is designing and building a wonderful road project that will both improve mobility and tie habitat areas together. Public and private funds have preserved thousands of forested acres surrounding the pass. And this tremendous working partnership between government agencies, tribes, conservation and recreation groups, is truly creating a world-class crossing of the Cascades for people and wildlife.

Visit I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East for more information, history of I-90, and construction updates. Collaborative efforts among many Greenway partners and the I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition are creating a new Snoqualmie Pass in the heart of the Mountains to Sound Greenway, our future National Heritage Area.