Plan Ahead for Thanksgiving Travel

Whether crossing the state or just running to the store for a last-minute ingredient, be sure to allow plenty of extra travel time during the busy Thanksgiving weekend.

The Washington State Department of Transportation urges all travelers to “know before you go” and plan head for smoother travel.

The agency also provides several tools to help plan holiday travels:

  • Consult WSDOT’s travel times charts, which use historical information to help drivers know before they go.
  • Check out online tools, including mobile apps, traffic cameras and email alerts.
  • Visit our online traveler information about traffic, weather and ferry schedules.
  • Follow WSDOT’s social media accounts, such as Twitter and Facebook.
  • Pre-program 530 AM and 1610 AM to vehicle radios for highway advisory radio alerts.
  • Carry chains and other winter driving essentials.
  • Check current chain and traction requirements on the WSDOT passes website or by calling 5-1-1, and watch for highway advisory signs.
  • Leave extra time for holiday and winter travel, slow down and drive appropriately for conditions.

 Apple Cup travel

Those traveling to the Saturday, Nov. 25, Apple Cup football game in Seattle should also plan ahead for possible winter weather on passes and allow extra travel time both to and from the game.

Mountain passes

In the mountains, State Route 123 Cayuse Pass (elevation 4,675 feet), State Route 20 North Cascades Highway (elevation 5,477 feet) and Chinook Pass (elevation 5,430 feet) are closed for the winter. On Snoqualmie Pass (elevation 3,022), you can receive text alerts for pass delays 30 minutes or longer – text “wsdot snoqualmie” to 468311 to subscribe, and “wsdot stop” to unsubscribe.

Tolls

In the Puget Sound, the State Route 520 bridge will have weekend toll rates on Thanksgiving, Nov. 23, returning to weekday rates on Friday, Nov. 24. On the Interstate 405 express toll lanes, travel is free to all on the Thanksgiving holiday, returning to normal toll and HOV requirements from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday. Weekends are always free to travel in the lanes. Out-of-town travelers, including those using rental cars, can learn about toll roads and short term account options on the Good to Go! visitors page.

Other travel alternatives

Travelers planning a trip by ferry, train, personal aircraft or bus also should make plans to avoid holiday delays:

  • Please plan ahead for heavy holiday ferry traffic and consider purchasing tickets online to save time. The longest lines are expected westbound Wednesday afternoon and evening, Nov. 22, and eastbound Friday morning, Nov. 24. Reservations are recommended on the San Juan and Port Townsend/Coupeville routes. Some ferry routes run on Saturday schedules on the holiday, check the Washington State Ferries website or call 888-808-7977 for details.
  • Amtrak Cascades passengers are encouraged to purchase tickets early and should plan to arrive at the station one hour before departure. All Amtrak Cascades trains require reservations and trains fill up quickly during holidays. Visit www.amtrakcascades.com/ or call 800–USA–RAIL for details. (There are no extra Thanksgiving trains this year).
  • For information about traveling via state-operated airports, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/aviation/airports/Amenities.htm or call 800-552-0666.
  • Check with your local public transit agency for any holiday schedule or service changes, including some Dial-A-Ride and fixed-route service that may not run on holidays

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