Local Information

Know before you go: Spend summer’s last holiday weekend having fun, not stuck in traffic

Monday, August 25, 2014 - 15:37

Lars Erickson, WSDOT communications, 360-789-6463 (cell)

OLYMPIA – With Washingtonians gearing up to celebrate the last, long holiday weekend of the summer, travelers are advised to plan ahead for heavy traffic on the state’s major highways.

One way to beat the crowds is to check the Washington State Department of Transportation’s predicted travel volumes on the state’s major travel routes. To help drivers navigate holiday traffic, WSDOT gathers data to provide the best times to travel on Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass, US 2 over Stevens Pass, Interstate 5 through Thurston and Pierce counties, and I-5 between Bellingham and the U.S./Canada border.

Real-time travel information is also available:

  • Online tools that provide traffic camera images, ferry schedules and a map of highway incidents and closures.
  • The 511 travel information hotline. For out-of-state callers, it’s 1-800-695-ROAD (7623).
  • The WSDOT mobile app , email alerts and other tools such as Twitter and Facebook .
  • Overhead and roadside electronic signs.
  • Highway advisory radio stations: 530 AM or 1610 AM.

To help ease traffic congestion, WSDOT and its contractors will halt most highway-construction work at noon Friday, Aug. 29, through Monday, Sept. 1. Although work is suspended, drivers should be prepared for lane shifts or construction-related changes in these areas:

  • I-5, Stillaguamish River Bridge, Snohomish County: All southbound I-5 traffic is reduced to two lanes for a bridge-replacement project. Drivers will use a new roadway across the median to two lanes of northbound I-5 across the Stillaguamish River Bridge, and then cross back on the other end of the bridge. Northbound I-5 is also reduced to two lanes from State Route 530 to 236th Street Northeast.
  • State Route 8, Thurston County: Westbound SR 8 is reduced to one lane around the clock between mileposts 17.5 and 19 near the Summit Lake Grocery for continued clean-up activities following a fuel spill in August.

Drivers crossing the State Route 520 bridge Monday, Sept. 1, will be charged weekend toll rates due to the holiday. Drivers can also expect heavier-than-normal traffic volumes and delays on eastbound I-90 at Snoqualmie Pass Friday, Aug. 29, and westbound Monday, Sept. 1.

Travelers whose weekend plans include a trip by ferry, train, personal aircraft or bus should also make plans to avoid holiday delays:

  • Washington State Ferries asks that travelers allow for extra time during the Labor Day holiday weekend. The heaviest terminal congestion is anticipated from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29, on westbound routes. Traffic on eastbound routes is anticipated to be heaviest Sunday, Aug. 31, and Monday, Sept. 1. Travelers on the Port Townsend/Coupeville route and the Anacortes/Sidney, BC, route are advised to make reservations. Waits and advance arrival recommendations vary by route. Travelers needing specific information can either call the WSF information line at 888-808-7977 or check the WSF website .
  • Amtrak Cascades offers 18 stops along the I-5 corridor. Amtrak Cascades trains often sell out during holidays, so make reservations early. Plan to arrive one hour before the train’s scheduled departure. Check online or call 800-USA-RAIL for more information. 
  • WSDOT provides updates on state-operated airports . Check online or call 800-552-0666 for information.
  • Most public transit systems will follow a holiday schedule, and some transit systems will not operate fixed-route or dial-a-ride service on Labor Day.


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