Local Information

Labor Day 2016: Enjoy the long weekend, but skip the long traffic delays

Monday, August 29, 2016 - 08:15

Barbara LaBoe, communications, 360-705-7080

Last summer holiday means heavy traffic statewide; drivers urged to plan ahead to navigate expected congestion on I-90, other highways

OLYMPIA – With summer's last holiday weekend upon us, many motorists will be hitting the roads. The key to a fun Labor Day weekend: planning trips now to avoid sitting in traffic later.

Drivers can use the Washington State Department of Transportation’s traffic volume charts this holiday weekend to “know before they go” and help time their travel on key routes. In particular this year, holiday travel congestion is expected in two spots along eastbound Interstate 90.

Vantage Bridge

Across the Vantage Bridge, heavier-than-normal congestion is expected on eastbound I-90 due to a lane closure for bridge painting at Vantage. No work will take place during the weekend, but the lane restriction will remain in place and lengthy delays are expected during peak travel times, ranging from 20 minutes to two hours. WSDOT is asking for drivers’ patience as well as their help in getting everyone through the area safely. If travelling across the bridge before 11 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 2, is not an option, drivers should consider taking alternate routes such as US 97, Interstate 82 or State Route 24.

Adams County

In Adams County, eastbound I-90 will be reduced to one lane at Wahl Road (milepost 213) through the holiday weekend. Eastbound travelers should expect congestion and delays, particularly the afternoons of Friday, Sept. 2, and Monday, Sept. 5.

Navigating congested areas

  • Slow down: Please obey posted restricted speed limits. Speed is reduced for everyone’s safety.
  • Stay alert: Be especially aware of other vehicles and prepare for any sudden stops.
  • Allow extra travel time: Drivers delayed by congestion sometimes try to compensate by driving faster once the congestion clears. Instead, allow extra travel time or consider adjusting travel schedules if possible.

Know before you go

  • Check WSDOT’s mobile app, Twitter and Facebook accounts, and online tools for traffic information and ferry schedules.
  • Call the 511 travel information hotline. For out-of-state callers, it’s 1-800-695-ROAD (7623).
  • Pre-program vehicle radios to 530 AM and 1610 AM for highway advisory radio alerts.

To ease congestion statewide, WSDOT suspends most state highway construction work during the holiday weekend starting Friday, Sept. 2. On Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 5, the State Route 520 bridge toll will be on holiday rates, while the Interstate 405 express toll lanes will be free and open to all drivers.

Washington State Ferries passengers should expect heavier traffic during the holiday weekend and reservations are strongly recommended for the Anacortes/San Juan Islands; Anacortes/Sidney, British Columbia; and Port Townsend/Coupeville ferry routes.

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

  • Amtrak Cascades 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 details.
  • Aviators can get updates on state-operated airports or by calling 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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