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Thursday, May 19, 2011
Alice Fiman, WSDOT Communications, 360-705-7080 (Olympia)
OLYMPIA – While many people still can’t decide if they need sandals or snow boots for Memorial Day weekend, it’s always the right decision to check your route before you go.
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) offers many ways to find out what’s happening on the roads. On the travel website, www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic, drivers can see information, such as camera images from across the state, state ferry schedules and a map of highway incidents and closures.
To help drivers plan holiday weekend travel, WSDOT offers additional information on where to expect increased traffic volumes, including I-90 Snoqualmie Pass, US 2 Stevens Pass, Interstate 5 near the U.S./Canadian border and I-5 between Olympia and Tacoma.
Travelers can also hear real-time travel information on the 5-1-1 travel information hotline. For out-of-state callers, it’s 1-800-695-ROAD (7623).
For those with mobile devices, go to www.wsdot.wa.gov/inform to see how WSDOT provides travel information with email alerts and other tools, such as social media (Twitter, Facebook).
On the road look for information on:
- Overhead and roadside electronic signs
- Highway advisory radio - 530 AM and 1610 AM.
Expect longer-than-typical wait times at ferry docks and on the highway most of the holiday weekend. Travel times should be significantly lighter Thursday and Tuesday.
Over Snoqualmie Pass there will be two lanes of I-90 open in both directions from Easton to Cle Elum, but plan for extra travel time due to expected high number of I-90 travelers. Drivers might experience additional delays westbound due to a barrier dividing the westbound lanes.
To keep traffic moving on I-90, WSDOT will have road-side service patrols from Hyak to Cle Elum. On Friday and Monday, the heaviest travel days, at least three service vehicles will be patrolling to help motorists and clear disabled vehicles and other incidents. On Saturday and Sunday crews will be on standby to respond as needed.
Washington State Ferries
- WSF is expecting heavy traffic Memorial Day weekend, which is traditionally the beginning of the busy summer season for the ferry system. Ferry riders should consider traveling outside of peak times to avoid the longest waits at the terminals. Customers should be prepared for waits of two to three hours or more heading westbound on Thursday afternoon and Friday and eastbound on Monday. Holiday schedules and other ferry information can be found on WSF’s website at www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries, or by calling toll-free 888-808-7977.
- Amtrak Cascades is very popular on holiday weekends. Travelers are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance and arrive early for departure. Visit http://www.amtrakcascades.com/ or call 800-USA-RAIL for more information.
- SR 410 Chinook Pass (elev. 5,430 ft.) will remain closed Memorial Day weekend. Crews are working hard to reopen the pass, but a heavy snowpack and high avalanche danger have slowed opening efforts. With more snow in the forecast, WSDOT cannot predict when the pass will reopen.
- SR 123 Cayuse Pass (elev. 4,675 ft.) is now open. Bookmark the Cayuse Pass website for information and see Cayuse Pass clearing pictures on Flickr.
- SR 20/North Cascades Highway (elev. 5,477 ft.) is open. Find out more about the North Cascade Highway and check out snow-clearing Flickr pictures.
- Most public transit systems will follow a holiday schedule, and some transit systems will not operate fixed-route or Dial-A-Ride service on Memorial Day. Check with your local transit agency for more information.
WSDOT keeps people, businesses and the economy moving by operating and improving the state's transportation systems. To learn more about what we're doing, go to www.wsdot.wa.gov/news for pictures, videos, news and blogs. Real time traffic information is available at http://wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/ or by dialing 5-1-1.
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