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Peak traffic times and driving tips for your Thanksgiving travel
State highways across Washington will see typical heavy holiday weekend traffic, according to the Washington Department of Transportation. Longer-than typical wait times at ferry docks and Canadian border crossings are also expected most of the holiday weekend.
WSDOT says that travel times are significantly lighter Wednesday and Thursday mornings and on Monday.
To take a look at the peak travel times on Highway 2, I-5, and I-90 over the Snoqualmie overpass, click
To give drivers a break from construction delays, work at most construction project sites around the state will move off the highway by noon Wednesday, Nov. 23, and restart Monday morning, Nov. 28. In some construction zones, drivers should be prepared for shifted lanes, roadway detours and reduced speed zones.
- SR 410 Chinook Pass (elevation 5,430 feet) is closed from Morse Creek (five miles east of the summit) to Crystal Mountain Boulevard (eight miles northwest of the summit). Access to the Crystal Mountain Ski Resort on eastbound SR 410 remains open.
- SR 123 Cayuse Pass is closed within Mount Rainier National Park from the 4,675-foot Cayuse Pass summit to Stevens Canyon Road.
- SR 20 North Cascades Highway (elevation 5,477 feet) is closed from milepost 134, east of Diablo, and on the east side at milepost 171, which is 14 miles west of Mazama.
Puget Sound-area highways
- Heavy traffic is expected eastbound on SR 16 near the Tacoma Narrows Bridge toll plaza on Thanksgiving Day between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and again between 5 and 11 p.m. Good To Go! customers should stay in the left-hand lanes as they pass the toll plaza.
- Heavy traffic is expected the morning of Friday, Nov. 25, at the I-5 exits to downtown Seattle as people make their way to the annual Macy s Holiday Parade.
- Congestion is expected in downtown Seattle Saturday Nov. 26, as the UW and WSU football teams play in the annual Apple Cup at CenturyLink Field.
- The Seattle Marathon will close ramps on I-5 and SR 520 along with the I-5 and I-90 express lanes on Sunday, Nov. 27.
The week of Thanksgiving is typically Amtrak s busiest travel period of the year. Amtrak will add 11 trains along the Amtrak Cascades route between Portland and Seattle to accommodate the travel demand during the holiday week, Wednesday, Nov. 23, through Sunday, Nov. 27. In addition, Amtrak will operate three non-stop roundtrip Thruway motor coaches between Portland and Seattle. Amtrak is also adding a Thruway motor coach connection from Bellingham to Seattle for the Coast Starlight trains, 11 and 14, on Wednesday and Sunday. All Amtrak Cascades trains require reservations and passengers are encouraged to purchase tickets early to obtain lowest fares. Visit http://www.amtrakcascades.com/ or call 800-USA-RAIL for reservations and information. Heavy traffic is expected on all ferry routes through the weekend, some routes are on a revised holiday schedule, and tidal conditions will change travel times. Travelers should plan ahead and check routes and times before leaving. Schedules are available online and at terminals and vessels. All other routes will be on their regular weekday schedule. The longest lines to catch a ferry are expected westbound Wednesday afternoon and evening, Nov. 23, and eastbound Friday morning, Nov. 25. Real-time ferry traffic information and wait times are available by signing up for route-specific email alerts and checking the Coupeville and Port Townsend terminal websites. To check the status of state-operated airports, visit the state aviation website or call 1-800-552-0666. WSDOT Aviation encourages pilots to check with their local Flight Service Station for current Notices to Airmen and temporary flight restriction status before each flight. On Thanksgiving, transit systems will follow a holiday schedule or will not operate fixed route and Dial-A-Ride services. On Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, many transit systems will operate on a limited schedule. Check with your local transit agency for more information.
WSDOT encourages safety, along with efficiency, during holiday travel. Officials say that just one traffic collision or disabled vehicle can cause backups stretching for miles during winter storms and already-congested holiday weekends.
WSDOT recommends these tips for winter driving:
- On ice and snow, take it slow. Drive for conditions slower speeds, slower acceleration, slower steering, and slower braking in winter conditions.
- Use your headlights.
- Do not use cruise control.
- Four-wheel and all-wheel vehicles do not stop or steer better on ice than two-wheel drive vehicles.
- Leave extra room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. And remember, the larger the vehicle, the longer the stopping distance.
- Slow down when approaching intersections, offramps, bridges, or shady spots.
- If you find yourself behind a snowplow, stay behind it until it is safe to pass. Remember that a snowplow driver has a limited field of vision. Stay back (15 car lengths) until you re sure it is safe to pass or until the plow pulls off the road.
- Slow down and be extra cautious near the chain-up and removal areas. There are often people out of their vehicles.
For more information, click here.
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