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Labor Day weekend traffic: What to know before you go

(AP file photo/Elaine Thompson)

Labor Day weekend traffic is expected to snarl routes throughout Washington state, prompting officials to advise drivers to plan ahead. Friday will be among the heaviest days of travel.

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(WSDOT)

The Washington State Department of Transportation is pausing most construction over the weekend, anticipating a long line of cars on the road. Thick traffic will significantly slow travel times on certain routes, specifically I-5 between Tacoma and Olympia; I-90 between Seattle and Ellensburg; I-5 between Bellingham and the Canadian border; and Highway 2 between Everett and Leavenworth.

Tolls on the Highway 520 floating bridge will be in effect on Monday, Sept. 3. The I-405 express lanes, however, will be free that day.

According to WSDOT, the heaviest travel times on Friday are:

  • Eastbound I-90: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Northbound I-5 toward Tacoma/Seattle: 10 a.m. to  5 p.m.
  • Southbound I-5 from Seattle/Tacoma: morning through 7 p.m.
  • Northbound I-5 toward Canada: 1-5 p.m.
  • Southbound I-5 from Canada: 9 a.m. to noon

It’s not just roads. Washington State Ferries expects that around 350,000 people will use the waterways over the three-day weekend, KIRO 7 reports. Wait times for ferries over Labor Day weekends tend to last between 2-3 hours.  The Edmonds-Kingston ferry route is expected to have the longest wait times.

Plan ahead for ferry travel by keeping an eye on vessels, and watch for travel alerts.

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