OLYMPIA – Miss Manners says holidays are the time to unplug and concentrate on family. But before travelers unplug this Thanksgiving weekend, the Washington State Department of Transportation says plug in that electronic device to find the latest on travel and traffic.
WSDOT offers statewide travel information at www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic, including traffic camera images, ferry schedules and a map of highway incidents and closures. Travelers also can download the WSDOT mobile app for smartphones and sign up for news and social media tools, such as Twitter. Visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/inform to learn how. The statewide travel information phone line, 511, will broadcast the latest updates through the weekend. Travelers should also preset 530 AM and 1610 AM on their vehicle radios to hear what might be developing up the road.
For those traveling key holiday weekend routes, WSDOT offers additional information on Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass, US 2 over Stevens Pass, Interstate 5 between Thurston and Pierce counties and I-5 between Bellingham and the U.S./Canadian Border. Thanksgiving weekend is typically one of the busiest travel days of the year for I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass and US 2 over Stevens Pass.
To keep traffic moving, WSDOT and its contractors suspend most state highway construction work from noon Wednesday, Nov. 21, to Monday, Nov. 26. A few exceptions include US 97 south of Toppenish at Satus Creek, where a pilot car will direct traffic through the work zone. Drivers can expect delays near this area, the main route between Portland and Yakima.
In the Puget Sound-area:
- I-5 and I-90 express lanes will operate on weekend schedule Thanksgiving Day.
- Heavy traffic is expected the morning of Friday, Nov. 23, at I-5 exits to downtown Seattle, when people make their way to the annual Macy’s Holiday Parade.
- 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. 25.
On Nov. 13, WSDOT closed State Route 410 Chinook Pass and State Route 123 Cayuse Pass for the season. Chinook Pass (elevation 5,430 feet) closed from Morse Creek to Crystal Mountain Boulevard, leaving open eastbound access to the Crystal Mountain Ski Resort. Cayuse Pass (elevation 4,675 feet) is closed within Mount Rainier National Park from the summit to Stevens Canyon Road.
State Route 20 North Cascades Highway (elevation 5,477 feet) remains open as of today.
Long-term weather forecasts indicate typical late-November weather with rain and wind across most of the state. Snowfall is expected in the higher elevations, so travelers should plan extra time to cross all mountains passes, carry chains and the WSDOT Winter Driving Guide.
Travelers planning weekend trips by ferry, train, personal aircraft or bus should also make plans to avoid holiday delays:
- Washington State Ferries expects heavy traffic, so passengers are advised to consider traveling outside of peak times. Holiday schedules and other ferry information can is available on the WSF website at www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries or by calling toll-free 888-808-7977.
- Amtrak Cascades added 11 Thanksgiving trains to the existing schedule for Wednesday, Nov. 21, through Sunday, Nov. 25. Thanksgiving always sells out quickly, so travelers should reserve seats and buy tickets early at http://www.amtrakcascades.com/ and arrive at least an hour before the train leaves. Passengers boarding at Seattle’s King Street station might find some congestion due to ongoing construction in the area. Passengers may also consider boarding at other stations, such as Everett, Edmonds, Tukwila or Tacoma. Visit http://www.amtrakcascades.com/ or call 800-USA-RAIL for more information.
- For information about traveling via state-operated airports, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/aviation/airports/Amenities.htm or call 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.
WSDOT keeps people, businesses and the economy moving by operating and improving the state’s transportation systems. To learn more about what we’re doing, go to http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/news/ for pictures, videos, news and blogs. Real time traffic information is available at http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/ or by dialing 511.