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Know before you go: Holiday weekend means more travelers, longer travel times

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Date:  Friday, May 17, 2013

Contact: Alice Fiman, WSDOT communications, 360-705-7080 (Olympia)

OLYMPIA – If you’re taking to the road for Memorial Day weekend, don’t forget to plan ahead with travel tools from the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Drivers are encouraged to check WSDOT’s predicted travel volumes on all key weekend travel routes, including Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass, US 2 over Stevens Pass, I-5 through Thurston and Pierce counties and I-5 between Bellingham and the U.S./Canadian Border.

Real-time travel information is also available:

  • WSDOT’s online tools provide traffic camera images, ferry schedules and a map of highway incidents and closures.
  • Call the 511 travel information hotline. For out-of-state callers, it’s 1-800-695-ROAD (7623).
  • Download the WSDOT mobile app or see how WSDOT provides travel information through email alerts and other tools, such as Twitter and Facebook.
  • Look for overhead and other roadside electronic signs.
  • Program your radio to highway advisory stations, 530 AM or 1610 AM.

To help ease traffic congestion, WSDOT and its contractors will suspend most state highway construction work at noon Friday, May 24, until Monday, May 27. Exceptions include US 2 west of Stevens Pass, where only one lane is open in each direction while crews work to stabilize slopes. On US 97 south of Toppenish, a pilot car will escort traffic over the Satus Creek Bridge. Drivers can expect around-the-clock delays of up to 20 minutes.

Other events that may affect traffic include Seattle Mariners’ games, May 24–26; the Northwest Folklife Festival at Seattle Center, May 24–27; and Ski to Sea in Whatcom County, May 24–26.

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 expects heavy traffic Memorial Day weekend, and suggests that ferry riders consider traveling outside of peak times. Holiday schedules and other information can be found online or by calling 888-808-7977.
  • Amtrak Cascades offers 18 stops along the I-5 corridor. Amtrak Cascades trains often sell out during holidays so make your reservations early. Plan to arrive one hour before your train leaves. 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 Memorial Day.

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WSDOT keeps people, businesses and the economy moving by operating and improving the state's transportation systems. To learn more about what we're doing, go to www.wsdot.wa.gov/news for pictures, videos, news and blogs. Real time traffic information is available at www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic or by dialing 511.


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