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Travel alert: Studded tire deadline is April 16

From staff reports:

Washington drivers will have until April 16 to remove studded tires from their vehicles, thanks to an extension granted by the Washington State Department of Transportation (DOT).

Extended forecasts show the possibility of heavy winter weather as far out as Easter weekend, which prompted the DOT to ease the deadline, which is usually March 31.

"This year, we have a combination of winter weather still in the forecast for much of the state," said Chris Christopher, director of maintenance operations. "With spring break and Easter right around the corner, we wanted to give drivers the chance to travel before having to take off their studded tires."

The usual run for studded tires is Nov. 1 to March 31, unless an extension is granted by the DOT. The state's transportation experts don't expect an extension past April 16.

"Our crews will still be out working, but we need drivers to check the forecast, carry chains and drive for conditions," he said. "Close to 100 inches of snow came down on Snoqualmie between March 15 and April 15 last year, and drivers can expect to see snow in the mountains well into May."

DOT suggests drivers check conditions before making a long trip. Drivers can visit www.wsdot.wa.gov for updates on traveling conditions and pass conditions. The DOT also offers a free smartphone app that provides the same features.

For those who don't anticipate any major traveling before April 16, Christopher suggests getting tire studs removed as soon as possible, in order to avoid long waits at the local tire shop. The DOT notes that driving with studded tires beyond the April 16 cutoff date can lead to possible infractions against drivers.

 

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