Trav­el­ing? Hol­i­day traf­fic could get con­gested

The Daily Herald - - LOCAL NEWS - By Melissa Slager Her­ald Writer

Ex­pect a lot of com­pany as you make your way to your Fourth of July cel­e­bra­tions this hol­i­day week­end.

A record num­ber of trav­el­ers are ex­pected to hit the roads this year, thanks in part to the low­est gas prices in more than a decade.

“Any­one who is com­ing home on a Mon­day af­ter­noon on the Fourth of July is go­ing to hit traf­fic,” said An­drea Flat­ley, a state Depart­ment of Transportation spokes­woman. Ex­tra con­ges­tion could be par­tic­u­larly acute on Fri­day and Sun­day this year as well. “There are go­ing to be a lot of peo­ple on the road. Drivers just need to plan for that.”

Go­ing over the wa­ter?

The Fourth is the busiest week­end of the year for Wash­ing­ton State Fer­ries. Heavy ve­hi­cle traf­fic is ex­pected from Thurs­day through Tues­day.

Reser­va­tions are en­cour­aged on the few routes where they’re avail­able. For the San Juan Is­lands, fi­nal reser­va­tion spa­ces are opened two days be­fore each sail­ing. WSF rec­om­mends drivers ar­rive 60-90 min­utes early for Ed­monds-Kingston sail­ings, which will be on a hol­i­day sched­ule on the Fourth.

Ex­tra sail­ings will be added to the Muk­il­teo-Clin­ton route on Thurs­day (de­part­ing Clin­ton at 10 p.m., Muk­il­teo at 10:30 p.m.) and Tues­day (9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.). The route will be on a Sun­day sched­ule for the Fourth. Drivers are en­cour­aged to ar­rive one hour early for sail­ings.

Go­ing east of the moun­tains?

U.S. 2 is a go-to for many

Sno­homish County drivers, par­tic­u­larly those who live east and north. I-90 can seem far away, and comes with the dreaded thread through Seat­tle.

But in some cases — even with re­duced lanes in work zones and a host of other sum­mer con­struc­tion projects this year — I-90 might still be the less sticky of two very long slime trails.

“(U.S. 2) is an op­tion, but it won’t nec­es­sar­ily be a bet­ter op­tion,” Flat­ley said.

Drivers re­turn­ing from east of the moun­tains Sun­day dis­cov­ered that too late when they hit hours-long de­lays head­ing west on U.S. 2. One woman re­ported a 25-mile backup, from Skykomish to Sul­tan. She left a wed­ding in Quincy at 3 p.m. and, with sev­eral stops to feed an in­fant, didn’t get home to Lake Stevens un­til 10:30 p.m. — more than twice the usual trip time.

The de­lays were un­usual even for U.S. 2. Revel­ers re­turn­ing from the Par­adiso Fes­ti­val at The Gorge Am­phithe­atre added to the glut. There were de­lays on I-90 as well, but not quite so long.

U.S. 2 saw ex­tra con­ges­tion that week­end, and likely will see some ex­tra traf­fic this hol­i­day week­end. But the same re­al­ity ap­plies on rou­tine Sun­days, Flat­ley added. “The ca­pac­ity just doesn’t hold the vol­ume, no mat­ter what is go­ing on.”

Go­ing any­where at all?

No mat­ter where you are driv­ing, con­sider leav­ing a day early or a day later to avoid the worst con­ges­tion. Also try to hit the road very early or very late in the day, es­pe­cially Sun­day or the hol­i­day.

WSDOT keeps track of his­tor­i­cal travel times for hol­i­days. You can see last year’s traf­fic vol­ume charts at www.wsdot. wa. gov/ Con­ges­tion/ In­de­pen­denceDay.-

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