The AAA Club estimates about one million residents in the state of Washington plan to travel on the road this Memorial Day Weekend. The Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) strongly suggests traveling during non-peak times during the holiday weekend.
If you are planning to head north toward the Canadian border, drive east of the Cascades, if heading south toward Portland, or taking a ferry going west, Friday from about midday through about sunset is the busiest and slowest time period. WSDOT suggests hitting the road before 10 AM on getaway Friday. On Saturday in all directions, another peak in traffic volumes is late morning through mid-afternoon.
Returning from the holiday weekend will also be a chore. The peak times will start late in the morning on Monday, Memorial Day and continue through about sundown. Again, WSDOT suggests leaving Sunday, early Monday morning or wait until later in the night, or even on Tuesday.
Here are the WSDOT peak travel periods for US 2 Stevens Pass and I-90 Snoqualmie Pass, both going and returning. A similar peak travel timeframe is for I-5 both heading north as well as south toward Portland.
The elevated price of gas will likely keep some people either home or close to home as well. As of May 26th, AAA reports the average price of regular gas in Washington had reached $5.22 per gallon. Premium and diesel fuel prices were even higher.
The Washington State Ferries simply says expect long terminal wait times on Friday May 27th heading westbound, and again on both Sunday and Monday May 28th and 29th for eastbound sailings.
Wherever you go this holiday weekend, drive safely and pack your patience. Again, your nerves will feel better by leaving way early or way late to avoid those peak travel periods. And on Monday – Memorial Day, remember and honor those who paid the ultimate price for our country and freedom.