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Yelm continues to be gridlock impacted by I-5 incidents – 4 in 2017,
Local businesses and commerce disrupted during busy Christmas week,
Train derailment reveals our town’s Achilles Heal

Amtrak passenger train derailed near Olympia Monday, Dec. 18.
Southbound from Seattle on the inaugural run of a new route.
Photo credit: The Seattle Times

– Editor’s Note:
My wife and I were returning Monday night from a holiday when descending into Seattle, we received an e-mail that I-5 was closed near the Thurston County line. I immediately plotted the best way home to Yelm, which was to take Hwy. 7 to 702 (Tanwax Rd.). Made the drive from the airport to Tanwax in just over an hour, yet once we turned on Tanwax Rd. (702) at 8:25pm, was not until 1:40am that we had traversed the 10 miles to the McKenna light, 5 hours. We had realized that while the Yelm Bypass will be nice when completed, yet the main issue is there is no other way to get to Yelm from the north and east without a long circuitous routing via Shelton, or Hwy. 7 south to Morton to Hwy. 12 to I-5 and back through Tenino. The last time I experienced anything like this was during the 1996 flooding when the Nisqually River Bridge in McKenna was closed for several days, completely cutting off Yelm from a direct route to/from the north and east.

A huge note of thanks and gratitude go to Pierce and Thurston County Sheriffs Departments, WA State Patrol, Yelm Police and the many volunteers who have been directing traffic.

The Mountain News was first to break the story in the Yelm/Eatonville areas
By Bruce Smith
Read more

– “Alaska Airlines cuts Seattle to Portland fares after Amtrak derailment”
“A Seattle to Portland flights now cost $99 following the decision to cut fares.”
By Nat Levy, GeekWire.
Read more

– Bloodworks Northwest Update
Heartfelt thanks to donors who stepped-up to save lives!

Now we need to replenish and maintain our community blood supply through the holiday season. The best way to help: schedule an appointment in the next two week.

Update: With large donor response this week, we apologize to donors who experience delays. Walk-In donors are urged to call their local center before arriving. Find your center here.

– How local businesses have been helping motorists
“The I-5 traffic rerouted through the Yelm area, resulted in some exceedingly long wait times Monday and Tuesday. Some businesses offered to help.

“Northwest Chevrolet in McKenna, which sits on one of the alternate routes, announced via Facebook that they were providing free coffee, water and cookies, as well as bathrooms for motorists, said Nate Schilling, sales manager.

“Schilling said some drivers had been sitting in traffic for seven hours.”

“Main Street Cookie Company in Rainier was busy Monday, ranging from steady to swamped with customers due to the increased traffic, owner Joycelyn Zambutto said. She, too, had heard from drivers who said they had spent hours in traffic to travel relatively short distances.”

“At Rhonda’s Coffee House in Yelm, barista Kimy Hess said business slowed Tuesday from Monday, likely because more people decided to stay home to avoid traffic. Monday was a different story, she said. Those she knows in Roy, her hometown, told her that some drivers spent four-and-a-half hours to travel as little as eight or 10 miles,” by Abby Spegman and Rolf Boone, The Olympian.
Read more

– “Photos of the Amtrak Train Derailment”
From Aric Jenkins, TIME Magazine.
Click here

– Be sure your family’s vehicles have a survival pack
Our vehicles all have food, water and emergency gear, so the 7 hours in our car was no issue.
Get yours online from Yelm’s Survival Center.
Click here

– “Tragedy hits home”
I spoke on the House floor about the Amtrak Cascades 501 train derailment asking my colleagues to keep the victims and survivors in their thoughts.” From Rep. Denny Heck’s Newsletter.
Read more

Posted by Steve on December 20, 2017 at 6:21 am | Permalink

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