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Puget Sound traffic on major routes is nearing return to pre-pandemic levels

Traffic on I-5 into Seattle back in March 2020, when traffic was light. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

You probably noticed it on the roads this week: Traffic is getting close to being where it was before the pandemic.

I noticed a significant change in the traffic volumes this week. I even mentioned it on the air during our Tuesday show on KIRO Radio that some of our roads were looking like they did pre-pandemic, based on the backups.

I checked the state dashboard last night, and it confirms that traffic volumes around the state are only off 3% from this time last year, which was a few weeks before the first round of stay-at-home orders went into effect. The volumes have been on a steady incline since mid-February.

I-5 between Olympia and Everett is running at more than 90% of last year’s levels. Everett at Marine View Drive was at 100%. 405 between Renton and Bellevue is back over 90% as well. Highway 16 at the Narrows Bridge is hovering around 100%, though Highway 16 has been one of the few roads that didn’t see as significant of a dip as other roads.

It’s the same experience on 167. It’s over 90% of last year, and it also didn’t see as big of a dip.

Meanwhile, both floating bridges are still seeing a lot less traffic.

Transit is still off 60%, while ferry ridership is off almost 30%.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.

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