Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Drivers urged to plan ahead for Memorial Day travel

Staff Report | May 15, 2023 4:41 PM

OLYMPIA — Washington Department of Transportation officials are suggesting that drivers plan ahead if they are thinking about traveling for Memorial Day weekend.

“Memorial Day weekend is often the unofficial start of summer and means increased travel and congestion, so travelers are encouraged to pack their patience,” said a WSDOT press release.

The WSDOT posts travel charts on its website to help drivers plan their routes. The charts show congestion and estimated travel times along some of the busiest routes statewide. A travel chart for I-5 to the Canadian border has been added back to the site after an absence of a few years, the press release said. Travelers going to Canada are no longer required to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination.

The travel time estimates for the I-5 corridor are based on 2019 data, the press release said, the last pre-covid pandemic year.

“Average traffic volumes for both the I-90 and (Highway) 2 routes represent 2022 volumes, as traffic has largely returned to pre-COVID (levels),” it said.

Travel information will be posted on the WSDOT social media, the release said. There’s also a page on the agency’s website that includes traffic and weather information, ferry schedules and a real-time travel map.

People should allow additional travel time for Memorial Day weekend, the press release said.

Department of Transportation officials recommend deciding on some options, choosing an alternative campground or other outdoor site, if the first one is full. If parking lots are full, drivers should find an alternative parking lot rather than parking on the shoulder.

Work will be suspended on most construction sites from May 26 through 29.

“Please stay alert for new lane shifts or work zone staging areas that may remain in place,” the press release said.

Construction in Snoqualmie Pass will be suspended, but there will be a lot of extra travelers on the road, so drivers should expect delays in the eastbound lanes beginning May 26 and in westbound lanes May 29.

“People boarding a state ferry by vehicle should prepare for long waits,” the press release said.

The peak travel times on the ferries are expected to be westbound Thursday through Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, and eastbound Saturday through Monday. Some ferries have changed their schedules since the pandemic, so travelers, whether driving or as walk-on passengers, should check the schedule before they leave.

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