Simple trip on I-205 becomes waiting game

By Eric Florip, Columbian transportation & environment reporter

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Justin Nickelsen left the house this morning for what he figured would be a simple trip. He got on northbound I-205 just after 7:30 a.m., taking his sister-in-law to a dentist appointment a few miles away.

Three hours later, they were still in the car.

Nickelsen was among thousands of commuters affected by a shot of snowfall that snarled traffic across Clark County today. Among the paralyzed roadways was I-205 northbound.

Nickelsen and others waited on the freeway while a major offramp to Northeast 134th Street remained closed for much of the morning due to snow and ice. The ramp briefly re-opened at one point, he said, when a car attempted to proceed and slid off. It closed again.

Some cars died idling on the freeway, Nickelsen said. Some passengers simply got out and walked. Nickelsen took to Twitter, posting updates on the situation throughout the morning.

“I figured I’d have fun and do something productive rather than pull my hair out,” he said.

When a de-icer truck finally arrived, stranded commuters applauded, Nickelsen said. The driver laughed. The ramp finally opened up after 11 a.m.

Nickelsen finally reached his destination, three hours late.

“The worst part was I only went from Padden Parkway ... to Salmon Creek,” he said. “One exit.”

His sister-in-law still saw the dentist. Nickelsen headed to Starbucks.

“I’m drinking a quad shot,” he said.