OLYMPIA - Memorial Day is the kick-off to the summer travel season, and a few minutes of planning could make your weekend travel more safe and less aggravating.
WSDOT offers many ways to know before you go, including our web site, http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/, and the 24-hour traveler information line, 5-1-1
WSDOT also has listed on the Web site the times and places drivers may likely see holiday weekend delays: US 2, I-90, I-5 at the Canadian Border and I-5 south of Olympia through Lewis County.
Work at most construction projects around the state will move off the highway from noon Friday until Tuesday morning. Although there may not be any active construction, drivers should prepare for shifted lanes, roadway detours and reduced speed zones in places.
One significant exception is the ongoing closure of the SR 104 Hood Canal Bridge between Kitsap and Jefferson counties. Travelers should review their transportation options to determine the best route to and from the Olympic Peninsula over the holiday weekend. Get more information about transportation options at http://www.hoodcanalbridge.com/ or by calling 1-877-595-4222.
Drivers should expect longer-than typical wait times at ferry docks and Canadian border crossings most of the holiday weekend. Travel times are significantly lighter Wednesday and Thursday morning and on Tuesday.
Drivers should also expect additional traffic on US 2 Stevens Pass and I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass, primarily on Friday and Monday. Monday is the busiest day of westbound US 2 travel each year. Drivers on I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass can expect higher-than-normal traffic volumes Friday afternoon, Saturday morning and Monday afternoon.
The following are additional areas where motorists may encounter delays over the holiday weekend:
Washington State Ferries
- WSF is expecting heavy traffic for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, which is traditionally the beginning of summer crowds for the ferry system. Extra service for Memorial Day weekend will be added on the Anacortes/San Juan Islands routes.
- The holiday schedule is in effect Memorial Day, May 25 on the following routes: Point Defiance/Tahlequah, Seattle/Bainbridge Island, Edmonds/Kingston, and Mukilteo/Clinton. Holiday schedules and other ferry information can be found at Washington State Ferries' Web site at www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries, or by calling toll-free at 1-888-808-7977.
Northwest Washington/Puget Sound area:
- Travel on Puget Sound highways will increase Thursday, with peak travel times from noon to 9 p.m. Friday and early Saturday. Monday afternoon travel back into the Puget Sound area will peak just before noon and continue into late evening hours.
- Backups are expected in the Tacoma Narrows Bridge manual toll lanes Memorial Day evening between 3 and 10 p.m. as holiday travelers return home. Many will not have electronic toll accounts and a higher than usual number is expected to use the toll booths. WSDOT will be monitoring traffic closely and taking steps to manage traffic. All manual toll booths will be open during the peak hours.
- Weather permitting, there will be a HOV-lane closure for noise wall work across the eastbound SR 16 Tacoma Narrows Bridge from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, May 22.
- I-90 west of Spokane near the Cheney/Four Lakes Interchange (MP 270) is reduced to one lane in each direction for a bridge deck repair. Drivers should be alert for slow traffic and possible congestion.
- I-90 just east of Downtown Spokane may have grooved pavement and abrupt lane edges.
- Amtrak Cascades is very popular on holiday weekends. Travelers are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance and arrive early at the station for departure. Visit http://www.amtrakcascades.com/ or call 1-800-USA-RAIL for more information.
- SR 410 Chinook: Chinook Pass remains closed from near Crystal Mountain Boulevard (milepost 57), to near Morse Creek (milepost 74.5). The goal is to open on May 22, but WSDOT avalanche forecasters are now saying that Chinook Pass may not be ready to open for the Memorial Day weekend. Check the Chinook Pass Web site throughout the week for information on opening.
- SR 123 Cayuse re-opened Friday, May 15.
- SR 20/North Cascades Highway re-opened Friday, April 24.
- SR 504/The Spirit Lake Highway is open to the Johnston Ridge Observatory.
- To check the status of state-operated airports, visit: www.wsdot.wa.gov/aviation/airports/Amenities.htm or call 1-800-552-0666. 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, please call 1-800-WX-BRIEF. Temporary flight restriction information is available at: airspace.nifc.gov/mapping/nifc/index.cfm
- 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.