With snow in the forecast, semi-truck drivers will need to chain up on I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass but putting chains on a big rig in the snow can be challenging.

There is a designated area three miles east of the pass I-90 but it often exceeds capacity which pushes large trucks into live traffic.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is implementing a pilot project to try and solve those chain-up woes. The new system will be used throughout the winter when traction tires are required on trucks more than 10,000 pounds.

Recent improvements to I-90 nearly doubled the length and width of the chain-up area. Overhead message signs help guide trucks in the chain-up area, streamlining the process and helping improve safety for all drivers on I-90. Double parking is not allowed with the new system. Trucks must chain up in a single-file line.

Passenger vehicles do not have to chain up when traction tires are required, but those that want to can follow the overhead signs as well.

WSDOT recently widened the chain-up area shoulders to allow extra space between drivers chaining up and live traffic. This will help reduce the risk of pedestrian collisions.
Truckers will be allowed to park for 30 minutes while chaining up but will not be allowed to park in the chain up area to wait out the storm.

WSDOT believes this is the first time engineers have used "Intelligent Transportation Systems" to actively organize the chain-up process. If successful this pilot project may be expanded to other areas in the I-90 corridor and across the state.