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Holiday weekend travel: Plan ahead, be informed, keep warm, eat turkey

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Date:  Thursday, November 21, 2013

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

OLYMPIA – A few key steps are all it takes to make Thanksgiving weekend travel as smooth as grandma’s gravy.

Step 1: Plan ahead and check with the Washington State Department of Transportation’s best times to travel on key holiday routes such as Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass.

Step 2: Bookmark and check online tools that provide traffic information and ferry schedules.

Step 3: Get informed about WSDOT’s mobile app and social media.

Step 4: Leave extra time for travel, drive safe and keep warm.

WSDOT crews will be out treating highways to prepare for continued freezing temperatures forecast through the weekend. Drivers should prepare, too: Carry chains and know current traction and chain requirements. Mountain-pass traction and chain requirements are available on the WSDOT website, highway advisory signs and highway advisory radio (530 AM and 1610 AM) or by calling 5-1-1.

If travelling over Washington’s highest mountain highways, avoid State Route 123 Cayuse Pass (elevation 4,675 feet). The pass is closed for the season in Mount Rainier National Park from the summit to Stevens Canyon Road.

Both State Route 20 North Cascades Highway (elevation 5,477 feet) and Chinook Pass (elevation 5,430 feet) remain open. Before you go, know the most current conditions on all Washington’s mountain pass highways.

To help keep traffic moving, WSDOT and its contractors suspended most state highway construction work beginning noon Wednesday through the holiday weekend. Other holiday ways drivers need to know to help keep traffic moving include:

  • Washington State Ferries expects heavy traffic, so passengers are advised to consider traveling outside of peak times. Holiday schedules and other ferry information are available on the WSF website at www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries or by calling toll-free 888-808-7977.
  • WSDOT added four Amtrak Cascades trains to the existing Thanksgiving schedule between Seattle and Portland. All Amtrak Cascades trains require reservations, and passengers are encouraged to purchase tickets early; Thanksgiving sells out quickly. Amtrak Cascades service is operated by Amtrak and funded by the Washington and Oregon departments of transportation. Visit http://www.amtrakcascades.com/ or call 800–USA–RAIL for reservations and information.
  • For information about traveling via state-operated airports, visit http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/aviation/airports/Amenities.htm or call 1-800-552-0666.
  • 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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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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