Labor Day weekend is often the last big weekend of summer travel, so planning ahead and being prepared for occasional congestion is crucial to a successful end-of-summer excursion.
Travelers can consult the Washington State Department of Transportation’s holiday-weekend traffic volume charts to help plan the best times to travel on key routes. If possible, altering travel to less busy times can not only improve individual trips but also help keep all traffic flowing more freely. Those venturing out on land or sea can also use several WSDOT tools to “know before you go” as well as keep updated throughout the trip.
Know before you go
- Check WSDOT’s mobile app, Facebook page, multiple Twitter accounts and online tools for traffic information and ferry schedules. (When driving have a passenger check online updates or pull over to safe place before using electronic devices).
- Call the 511 travel information hotline. For out-of-state callers, it’s 1-800-695-ROAD (7623).
- Pre-program vehicle radios to 530 AM and 1610 AM for highway advisory radio alerts.
Construction halted for holiday weekend, Snoqualmie Pass work wrapped up
To ease congestion statewide, WSDOT suspends most state highway construction work during the holiday weekend, including on Friday, Aug. 31. This year that includes wrapping up the Interstate 90 work over Snoqualmie Pass before the holiday so that the divided, westbound highway lanes will no longer be in place. Travel over the pass is heavy on any holiday weekend, though, so travelers should still allow extra travel time or considering traveling at non-peak times, typically early in the day or later in the evening.
In the Puget Sound, weekend toll rates will be in effect on Monday, Sept. 3, on the State Route 520 bridge. The Interstate 405 express toll lanes will be free and open to all drivers on the Monday holiday. Travelers can learn about toll roads, short-term account options and rental car tips on the Good to Go! visitors page.
Washington State Ferries passengers should expect heavier traffic during the holiday weekend and reservations are strongly recommended for the Anacortes/San Juan Islands; Anacortes/Sidney, British Columbia; and Port Townsend/Coupeville ferry routes.
- Reservations can be made online or by calling 888-808-7977.
- Visit the schedules and best travel times website for more details.
Other travel considerations
Travelers planning to avoid highway congestion by traveling via train, personal aircraft or transit also should factor the holiday into their plans:
- Amtrak Cascades passengers are encouraged to purchase tickets early and should plan to arrive at the station one hour before departure. Book now or call 800–USA–RAIL for details.
- Aviators can get updates on state-operated airports or by calling 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.