SR 240 back open after tumbleweeds shut down highway for 10 hours outside West Richland

tumbleweeds take over road

WEST RICHLAND, Wash. – State Route 240 is back open in both directions north of West Richland after several cars became trapped in a massive pile of tumbleweeds Tuesday night.

According to the Washington State Patrol, the highway closed at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and remained closed for about 10 hours near the Hanford Site.

Trooper Chris Thorson said strong winds blew the tumbleweeds into an area with berms near the roadway, causing the tumbleweeds to clog the highway. He said cars briefly stopped to avoid hitting the tumbleweeds and quickly got buried. No injures were reported.

The closure caused a backup that was reportedly several miles long.

Transportation crews used snow plows to free trapped vehicles and clear the roadway. Thorson said at least five cars and one eighteen wheeler became stuck in the massive heap, which was up to 30 feet tall and hundreds of yards long.

The highway was back open by 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, New Year’s Day.

Thorson said troopers will be monitoring the area throughout the day to make sure the road stays clear.