WSDOT offers a number of resources when planning trips, including the traffic charts on key state routes and web cams placed at locations across Washington
The Center Square Washington
With summer drawing to a close, holiday weekend travelers should expect extra traffic congestion – whether by vehicle, ferry, bicycle or foot – and consider traveling during non-peak times if possible, advises the Washington State Department of Transportation.
“People planning their final festivities of summer before all things pumpkin spice and yellow school buses return should consult the … holiday traffic volume charts to determine best times to travel during the Labor Day weekend,” the department said in a news release.
WSDOT offers a number of resources when planning trips, including the traffic charts on key state routes and web cams placed at locations across Washington. Information can be viewed online at www.wsdot.wa.gov, on the WSDOT mobile app, and on its Facebook and Twitter social media accounts. Updated road conditions can be heard on vehicle radios at 530 AM and 1610 AM, or by calling 5-1-1.
The department recommends that people “go early or late, and give themselves plenty of extra time.” In addition to traffic congestion, crashes or emergency road repairs can add to delays. Travelers headed to parks or other outdoor destinations should have backup plan in case their first choice is full, carry extra food and water as a precaution for emergencies or unexpected stops and keep vehicle fuel tanks at least a quarter full throughout travel.
Extremely dry conditions continue across much of the state, posing a constant risk of outdoor fires. Motorists pulling trailers should ensure that safety chains or other attachments don’t drag on pavement, causing sparks that could start a blaze. And it should go without saying – never throw cigarettes or other ignited materials out of vehicles.
Most state highway construction work is suspended through the holiday weekend – including Monday, Sept. 4 – to ease congestion. However, new lane shifts or work zone staging areas may remain in place.
However, for central Washington travelers on State Route 970 near the Teanaway River east of Cle Elum, contractor crews are repairing roadway erosion that requires around-the-clock single-lane, alternating traffic which is projected to result in delays of up to 3 hours during the Labor Day weekend. To reduce delays, WSDOT is restricting westbound traffic on SR 970 to local traffic only starting 7 a.m. Friday, Sept. 1 through 7 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5. Travelers on southbound US 97 headed west from Wenatchee will detour to I-90.
No lane closures or other construction are planned on Interstate 90 at Snoqualmie Pass from Friday, Sept. 1, until Tuesday, Sept. 5. However, the usual holiday increase in traffic volumes means travelers should expect delays, especially eastbound on Friday and westbound on Monday. Text message alerts about significant delays can be obtained by texting the number 468311 with the words “WSDOT Snoqualmie.”
In the Puget Sound, weekend toll rates will be in effect on Monday on the State Route 520 bridge and SR 99 tunnel. The I-405 express toll lanes will be free and open to all drivers on Monday.
People boarding a state ferry by vehicle should prepare for long waits. Peak travel times on most routes are expected to be west- or island-bound Thursday through Saturday and eastbound (off island), Sunday through Tuesday. Customers can bypass vehicle lines as a walk-on passenger. All riders should check sailing schedules as some routes are operating on revised timetables. Visit the Washington State Ferries website for more details on making a vehicle reservation for some routes.
This report was first published by The Center Square Washington.
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