Traveling via ferry or mountain pass for holidays? A few reminders from WSDOT

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Photo courtesy Washington State Department of Transportation.

If your holiday travel includes driving your vehicle onto a ferry, bring your patience, the Washington State Department of Transportation says.

Hundreds of thousands of people will be dashing through Puget Sound on a crowded state ferry over the next several days, and people driving onto a vessel should plan for long wait times as many travelers head to or from their Christmas or New Year’s getaways. Delays may be longest on the Edmonds/Kingston route, where a smaller-than-normal vessel is in service, WSDOT adds.

The Saturdays prior to Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are expected to be the busiest. With Christmas falling on a Tuesday this year, many passengers are also likely to travel on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday following the holiday. Check your route’s schedule as some timetables will be on a holiday schedule on Tuesday, Dec. 25, and Tuesday, Jan. 1.

To reduce or eliminate wait times, consider walking on the ferry or taking an early- morning or late-evening sailing. Check terminal conditions before leaving, sign up for ferry travel alerts and follow WSF’s Twitter account for automatic updates on travel conditions.

And if your travels include a trip over the mountain passes, WSDOT reminds drivers of chain requirements during winter storms and inclement weather. Ignoring chain requirements could cost drivers $500.

What are the requirements?

  • Vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or greater — including some large SUVs and RVs – must install chains when traction tires are required.
  • All vehicles, except four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, must put on chains when tire chains are required. However, four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive vehicles still need to carry chains in order to proceed across the pass.
  • All vehicles need to put on chains when chains are required on all vehicles.

Learn more about tire chain requirements at this link.

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