Labor Day weekend means more travelers, extra travel time

The last holiday weekend of the summer typically brings additional traffic, so planning ahead and allowing extra travel time is even more critical as Labor Day approaches, the Washington State Department of Transportation says.

Travelers can consult WSDOT’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 improve individual trips and help keep all traffic flowing more freely. Those venturing out on land or sea can also use several WSDOT tools to keep updated throughout the trip.

Know before you go

  • Check WSDOT’s mobile appFacebook 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.
  • Carry extra water, snacks and other supplies in case you’re delayed along the way.

To ease congestion statewide, WSDOT suspends most state highway construction work during the holiday weekend, starting Friday, Aug. 30, through Monday, Sept. 2. This includes Interstate 90 from North Bend to Vantage, but some construction zone detours will remain in place. Traffic is always heavy over Snoqualmie Pass on summer weekends — especially Labor Day — so travelers should allow extra travel time or consider traveling during 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. 2, 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 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.

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 nowor call 800–USA–RAIL for details.
  • Check the status of state-operated airports online 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. For details, check with the local transit system.

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