WASHINGTON, USA — Road congestion is at a high during holiday weekends.
Memorial Day is coming up on Monday, May 29, and with other holiday weekends, the roads are expected to be busier than normal.
Interstate 90 and ferries are expected to have long delays. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) warns that when highways reach capacity, even minor accidents cause significant backups. WSDOT has online tools to help drivers plan ahead, to avoid as much congestion as possible on the roads. Those tools are broken down here.
Based on historical data from previous Memorial Day weekends, WSDOT created charts to help drivers plan on hitting the road during periods of slower traffic. Below are the busiest times expected along some of the most common routes for Friday, May 26, and Monday, May 29.
If looking at the charts on WSDOT’s website, green indicts light traffic, yellow shows moderate to heavy traffic, and red is congestion. A black line shows the average traffic pattern along the route.
I-5 NB Lacey to Tacoma
On Friday, May 26, traffic is expected to start early. Severe congestion is predicted to begin around 6 a.m., which is the typical start time for heavy traffic on the route. Congestion is expected to last until 5 or 6 p.m. with the best travel times in the late evening between 10 and 11 p.m.
On Monday, May 29, WSDOT predicts traffic to be lightest in the morning, between 4 and 7 a.m. The roads will get crowded around 10 a.m. and stay busy until 9 p.m. Traffic will be the worst around 11 a.m.
I-5 SB Lacey to Tacoma
On Friday, May 26, heavy traffic is expected to last over 12 hours, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and will be moderate in the evening hours. The best time to travel is early morning before 6 a.m.
On Monday, May 29, traffic is largely predicted to be lighter than usual for a Monday. The worst time to hit the road will be between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
I-5 NB Bellingham-Canada border
On Friday, May 26, traffic will be light to relatively moderate until 11 a.m. when traffic is expected to become congested until late into the evening. The best time to head out on the roads will be before 7 a.m.
On Monday, May 29, conditions are expected to be better than average, with moderate traffic predicted for 9 a.m. until 8 p.m.
I-5 SB Bellingham-Canada border
On Friday, May 26, traffic will become severely congested early and last most of the day. The worst time to get on the road will be 10 a.m. Congestion will ease up around 6 p.m., making the best time to hit the road after 7 p.m.
On Monday, May 29, traffic will be heavy for over 12 hours, peaking between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. The best time to head out on the road is 8 a.m. or earlier.
I-90 EB North Bend to Cle Elum
On Friday, May 26, traffic will likely tick up around 10 a.m. and last well into the evening. The earlier morning hours will be the best time to hit the road; congestion is expected to start around 7 a.m.
On Monday, May 29, traffic along the route will be calm most of the day. Moderate congestion is predicted between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. but the rest of the day will likely have good travel conditions.
I-90 WB North Bend to Cle Elum
On Friday, May 26, traffic will pick up from light to moderate at 10 a.m. and is expected to stay at that level until 8 p.m. when it will fall back down. The worst time to get on the road will be noon.
On Monday, May 29, congestion will be heavy starting at 10 a.m. and lasting for most of the day. The best time to hit the road will likely be before 9 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
US 2 EB Stevens Pass to Skykomish
On Friday, May 26, traffic will be light in the morning, and will reach severe congestion by noon. 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. will be the busiest times along the route.
On Monday, May 29, traffic is expected to be light all day, picking up slightly around noon. No severe delays are predicted.
US 2 WB Skykomish to Stevens Pass
On Friday, May 26, traffic along the route will likely be light all day. The busiest time on the road is expected to be midday, but no delays or congestion is expected.
On Monday, May 29, heavy congestion is predicted between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Traffic will be heavy throughout the afternoon.
Traffic flow for more days can be found here.