State DOT offers travel tips for Fourth of July weekend

2012_fireworks_jon assink-3Want to thoroughly enjoy your hot dogs and fireworks during the Fourth of July weekend? If you’re traveling, the Washington State Department of Transportation advises you to plan ahead so you get to your destination on time.

Drivers can use the Washington State Department of Transportation’s traffic volume charts to “know before they go” and help time their travel on key routes.

To ease congestion, most state highway construction work is suspended during the holiday weekend starting on Friday, July 3. In the Puget Sound, the State Route 520 bridge will have weekend toll rates on Friday, July 3. Ramp closures during the weekend include:

Tacoma – Two long-term ramp closures: the northbound State Route 7 on-ramp to southbound Interstate 5 and the A Street on-ramp to northbound Interstate 705/I-5. Please use alternate routes.
Seattle – Four ramp closures during the July 4 fireworks: the southbound I-5 off-ramp to Roanoke Street, the Boylston Street on-ramp to southbound I-5 and the southbound I-5 exit-only lane and off-ramp to Mercer Street will start closing at 9 p.m. and all will be closed by 10 p.m. The ramps will reopen at the conclusion of the fireworks show.
Vancouver – Two ramp closures for July 4 festivities: the northbound I-5 off-ramp to Mill Plain Boulevard will be closed from 6 to 10:30 p.m., and the westbound and eastbound SR 14 off-ramp to Columbia House Boulevard will be closed from 9 to 10:30 p.m.

Washington State Ferries travelers using the San Juan Islands; Sidney, British Columbia; or Port Townsend routes should check out the new reservation system for smoother holiday sailing. Reservations are strongly recommended during busy holiday weekends. Under the new system:

– Reservation holders will be prioritized on all departures.
– Drivers without reservations will be loaded as space allows and may have long wait times due to heavy holiday traffic.
– The final release of vehicle space to the San Juan Islands for the holiday weekend will be issued two days before each sailing date.
– Reservations can be made on line at or by calling 888-808-7977
– Visit the schedules and best travel times website or call 888-808-7977 for more details.

Travelers planning to avoid highway congestion by train, personal aircraft or bus travel also should factor the holiday into their plans:

– Amtrak Cascades offers 18 stops along the I-5 corridor. Passengers are encouraged to purchase tickets early and should plan to arrive at the station one hour before departure. Book now or call 800–USA–RAIL for more information.
– WSDOT provides updates on state-operated airports online, or 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.

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