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Know before you go: Plan ahead for Memorial Day weekend travel

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Date:  Monday, May 18, 2015

Contact: Barbara LaBoe, WSDOT Communications, 360-705-7080 (Olympia)

New ferry reservations strongly recommended on several routes

OLYMPIA – Hitting the road for Memorial Day? Make sure you plan ahead for a smoother trip and more enjoyable holiday.

Drivers can use the Washington State Department of Transportation’s traffic volume charts to help time their travel on key routes. To ease congestion, most state highway construction work also is suspended during the holiday weekend.

Drivers also can:

  • Check out WSDOT’s mobile app, social media sites – such as Twitter and Facebook – and online tools for traffic information and ferry schedules
  • Pre-program your vehicle radio to 530 AM and 1610 AM for highway advisory radio alerts
  • Allow extra time for holiday travel and congestion; considering traveling during non-peak hours
  • Remember to drive sober, be safe and avoid distractions to avoid causing collisions and additional traffic congestion

In the Puget Sound, the State Route 520 bridge will have weekend toll rates on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25. In Tacoma, both the northbound State Route 7 on-ramp to southbound Interstate 5 and the A-Street on-ramp to northbound I-5/southbound SR 7 will remain closed for bridge construction. Please use alternate routes.

Ferry Reservations

New to Memorial Day travel this year is the Washington State Ferries reservation system. Ferry travelers should expect heavier traffic during the holiday weekend and reservations are strongly recommended for the Anacortes/San Juan Islands, Anacortes/Sidney, B.C. and Port Townsend/Coupeville ferry routes. Under the new system:

  • Reservation holders will be prioritized on all departures.
  • Drivers without reservations will be loaded as space allows and may have long wait times due to heavy vehicle traffic.
  • The final release of vehicle space to the San Juan Islands for the Memorial Day weekend will be issued two days before each sailing date.
  • Reservations can be made on line at www.takeaferry.com/ or by calling 888-808-7977
  • Visit the schedules and best travel times website or call 888-808-7977 for more details.

Travelers planning to avoid highway congestion by traveling by train, personal aircraft or bus also should factor the holiday into their plans:

  • Amtrak Cascades offers 18 stops along the I-5 corridor. Passengers are encouraged to purchase tickets early and should plan to arrive at the station one hour before departure. Book now or call 800–USA–RAIL for more information.
  • WSDOT provides updates on state-operated airports online, or 800-552-0666.
  • 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.


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