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Travel tools can keep 4th of July weekend from becoming a dud

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Date:  Monday, June 30, 2014

Contact: Kris Rietmann, WSDOT communications, 360-705-7423

Plan for heavy traffic on ferries, mountain-pass highways and at border crossings

OLYMPIA – For those traveling during the Independence Day weekend, the Washington State Department of Transportation offers information about routes that traditionally see a dramatic increase in traffic volumes, as well as tools to keep holiday-travel headaches to a minimum.

WSDOT offers many ways for drivers to know before they go, including a website with a variety of online tools and 511, the 24-hour traveler information line. Drivers should expect congestion and delays on Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass , US 2 over Stevens Pass , Interstate 5 near the U.S./Canadian border and I-5 between Olympia and Tacoma .

Most construction projects around the state will suspend work from noon Thursday, July 3, until noon Monday, July 7. While there may not be any active construction during the holiday weekend, drivers should prepare for shifted lanes, roadway detours and reduced-speed zones in places.

Drivers crossing the State Route 520 bridge on Friday, July 4, will be charged weekend toll rates due to the holiday. The East Navigation Channel under SR 520 (pdf 3 mb) will be open for boaters from 6 p.m. Thursday, July 3, until 7 a.m. Monday, July 7. Both the east and west navigation channels around SR 520 will be congested during this time.

Drivers should expect longer-than-average wait times at ferry docks and Canadian border crossings for most of the holiday weekend.

Amtrak Cascades offers 18 stops along the I-5 Corridor. Amtrak Cascades trains often sell out during holidays, so travelers are encouraged to make reservations early. Plan to arrive one hour before the train departs. Check online or call 1-800-USA-RAIL for more information.

Know before you go

  • 511 – Call the driver-information line for current traffic, incident and closure information. TTY users can call 1-800-833-6388. Out-of-state callers can call 1-800-695-ROAD (7623).
  • On WSDOT’s travel website , drivers will find traffic-camera images from across the state, the Washington State Ferry (WSF) schedule and a map highlighting current highway incidents and closures.
  • WSDOT provides traveler information using social media like Twitter and Facebook and via mobile devices. Drivers can also sign up for specialized email alerts.

  On the road

  • Overhead and roadside electronic signs provide information about blocking incidents and other traffic delays.
  • Highway advisory radio – WSDOT advises drivers to program 530 AM and 1610 AM on their radios.

Drivers may encounter other delays over the holiday weekend:

Washington State Ferries

  • WSF is planning in advance for heavy traffic this weekend, as many locals and tourists attend various fireworks displays in the Puget Sound region, from Lopez Island to Point Defiance. The heaviest traffic is expected westbound Thursday, July 3, and Friday, July 4, and eastbound Monday, July 7. The summer schedules (pdf 1 mb)  are available online, and ferry users can also sign up for free email alerts about service disruptions and other route information.

Local parades and festivals

  • Drivers on their way to Seattle Friday, July 4, should be prepared for heavy congestion and evening lane and ramp closures on southbound I-5. Closures will begin at approximately 9 p.m., up to one hour before the fireworks show on Lake Union:
    • The southbound I-5 off-ramp to Roanoke Street.
    • The southbound I-5 on-ramp from Boylston Street.
    • The southbound I-5 off-ramp and the exit-only lane to Mercer Street.
    • All the ramps will be closed by 10 p.m. The ramps and lane will reopen when the fireworks show is over.
  • US 12 will be closed in Oakville from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, July 5, for the Independence Day Parade. A detour will be in place.
  • US 101 will be closed through Forks from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, July 4, and 5:00–10 p.m. Saturday, July 5. A detour will be in place.
  • US 101 will be closed through Port Angeles 5:30–7:30 p.m. Friday, July 4, for the Fourth of July Parade. A detour will be in place.
  • Drivers can expect stop and go traffic on US 101 near the junction of SR 119/Hoodsport July 4–6. Traffic control will be in place.
  • SR 203/Tolt Avenue in Carnation will be closed from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, July 4, from Blanche Street to Morrison Street during the Great Carnation 4th of July Celebration. Alternate routes are recommended.
  • SR 548 in Blaine will be closed from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, July 4, between Cherry Street and Marine Drive for the Old Fashioned 4th parade; and 1:30–6 p.m. between Martin Street and G Street after the parade. Alternate routes are recommended.
  • SR 900 in Renton will be closed from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, July 6, from Morris Avenue South to Main Avenue South for the Return to Renton Car Show. Alternate routes are recommended.


  • The 16 state-operated airports are open for the season. Pilots are encouraged to first check the FAA Airport Facilities Directory, and then visit the state-operated airports website . WSDOT Aviation encourages pilots to check with their local flight service station for current notices to airmen and temporary flight-restriction status before each flight. To contact the flight service station, call 1-800-WX-BRIEF. For more information call State Airport Manager Paul Wolf at 360-618-2477.

Public transportation

  • Most public transit systems will follow a holiday schedule, and some transit systems will not operate fixed route or dial-a-ride service on holidays. Check with the local transit agency for more information.

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