Plan ahead for Memorial Day travel

Plan ahead for Memorial Day travel

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kick-off to the summer travel season and the Washington Department of Transportation wants drivers to be prepared.

Traveling from eastern Washington to western Washington can be quite the shock for drivers. Interstate 5 in the Seatle area can become a little more congested than the 10 blocks of Interstate 90 through east Spokane that frustrates people each afternoon for about 30 minutes.

By following these steps from the Washington Department of Transportation, travelers can get where they’re going with fewer headaches:

Check the Washington State Department of Transportation’s best times to travel charts to help plan your trip and avoid congestion.

Get informed about WSDOT’s online tools, including the WSDOT mobile app, traffic cameras and email alerts.

— Visit online traveler information for traffic, weather and ferry schedules.

— Follow WSDOT’s social media accounts, such as Twitter and Facebook.

— Pre-program your vehicle radio to 530 AM and 1610 AM for highway advisory radio alerts.

— Call 5-1-1 for updated road conditions.

— Allow extra time for travel during the holidays to avoid rushing or distraction.

Most state highway construction work is suspended through the holiday weekend – including Monday, May 28 – to ease congestion. However, please stay alert for new lane shifts or work zone staging areas that may be remain in place.

Snoqualmie Pass

No lane closures or other construction is planned from Friday, May 25, to Tuesday, May 29, however the usual holiday increase in traffic volumes means travelers should expect delays, especially eastbound on Friday, May 25, and westbound Monday, May 28. Receive text message alerts about significant delays by texting the number 468311 with the words “WSDOT Snoqualmie”

Chinook and Cayuse passes

In the mountains, spring snow and a construction project in Mount Rainier National Park mean Chinook and Cayuse passes will not reopen by the holiday weekend this year. The passes are scheduled to open June 11. Chinook Pass, State Route 410, is closed between Crystal Mountain Boulevard, about 12 miles northwest of the summit, and Morse Creek, five miles east of the summit. SR 123 over Cayuse Pass is closed between Crystal Mountain Boulevard and the Stevens Canyon Road entrance. Both these passes close each winter due to weather and hazardous conditions.


In the Puget Sound, weekend toll rates will be in effect on Monday, May 28, on the State Route 520 bridge. The Interstate 405 express toll lanes will be free and open to all drivers on the Monday holiday. Out-of-town travelers, including those using rental cars, can learn about toll roads and short term account options on the Good to Go! visitors page.

Travelers making a trip by ferry, train, personal aircraft or bus also should plan ahead to avoid holiday delays:

— Anticipate heavy ferry traffic for the holiday and plan accordingly. Peak travel times on most routes are expected to be westbound Thursday and Friday, May 24-25, and eastbound, Monday, May 28. Check the Washington State Ferries website,, or call toll-free 888-808-7977 for details, including reservations on some routes. Customers also can bypass vehicle lines by traveling as a walk-on passenger.

— Amtrak Cascades passengers are encouraged to purchase tickets early and should plan to arrive at the station one hour before departure. All Amtrak Cascades trains require reservations. Visit or call 800-USA-RAIL for details.

— For information about traveling via state-operated airports, click here or call 800-552-0666.

— Check with local public transit agencies for any holiday schedule or service changes, including some Dial-A-Ride and fixed-route service that may not run on holidays