Washington State Working on System to Help Truckers Bypass Flooded I-5

November 21, 2012

Washington State will soon offer a new "passport" system for truckers to make it easier to skirt Interstate 5 in the Chehalis-Centralia region when Interstate 5 is flooded.

In 2007, flooding closed I-5 for four days, stranding truckers and other traffic.

The system will be functional by the end of this year, reports the Seattle Times.

When flooding has closed Interstate 5 for at least 24 hours and poses the risk of closing it for 72 hours, a trucker who needs to make a delivery will be able to apply for a special tag via the Web, which will allow access to Highway 12 and Highway 7 during a certain time slot.

About 50 trucks per hour will be allowed to use the alternate roads. The idea is to keep the alternate route from becoming congested, so emergency vehicles can get through as needed.

Flooding near Chehalis closed I-5 for four days in December 2007. As a major storm raged over the state, WSDOT closed highways throughout Western Washington, including I-5 in Lewis County near Chehalis, due to flooding, land slides and downed trees and power lines.

Hundreds of trucks waited on either side of a 20-mile stretch of I-5 as parts of the highway sat under 10 feet of water.

However, that's hardly the only time the major Interstate route has been closed in the area due to flooding.