The Fourth of July being on a Monday this year will bring not only a long weekend of holiday fun, but also a whole extra day to deal with traffic.
The holiday will be one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, so don’t forget to allow for a leisurely pace when you plan your travel time, advises Barbara LaBoe, spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation.
“The main thing we ask people to do on any holiday weekend is to give themselves lots of extra time,” she said. “There are lots of people on the road, and it’s better to be early than to be stuck in traffic and having to rush.”
Travelers can expect heavy traffic Friday afternoon and evening, as well as continued holiday-level traffic throughout the weekend, LaBoe said.
In addition, a 7:10 p.m. Mariners game at Safeco Field Friday will add to Seattle-area congestion.
By 1 p.m. Friday, traffic coming north on I-5 from the Vancouver area was backed up for miles. A motorhome overturned at milepost 18 on the East Lewis County bridge. Lanes were cleared by 2 p.m. but backups persisted.
Travelers who leave early Saturday could get ahead of some of that traffic. Monday afternoon will be congested as well, so travelers who can return Tuesday can avoid the delays.
In addition, LaBoe advised travelers to be aware of construction projects around their routes.
Westbound Interstate 90 is restricted to one lane near Cle Elum, with an alternate route along U.S. 97 and state Route 10.
Eastbound traffic will be slowed as well on the Vantage bridge because of a painting project to prevent rusting and extend the bridge’s life.
LaBoe said travelers are encouraged to use the Transportation Department’s travel tools, such as its mobile app, email alerts and Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Ferries in South Sound will experience their busiest travel weekend of the year.
To accommodate the influx of riders, an extra run will depart from Steilacoom at 10 p.m. Sunday and Monday. The run departing Steilacoom at 4:45 a.m. will be canceled Monday.
Two-boat service will be offered this weekend on Friday, Sunday and Tuesday.
In addition to normally scheduled runs, a second ferry will depart from Steilacoom to Anderson Island at 12:30 p.m., 1:50 p.m., 2:50 p.m., 3:50 p.m., 4:50 p.m. and 6 p.m.
The two-boat service will continue on Fridays and Sundays in July and August to ease delays over the summer.
Ferry riders with large or low-clearance vehicles should plan ahead for extreme tides from Friday to Tuesday. Restrictions will be placed on some sailings, and riders with large or low-clearance vehicles might be asked to take a different run to avoid damage.
Additional runs will be added elsewhere to several Washington State ferry routes. Reservations are recommended for the San Juan Islands, Port Townsend, Coupeville and Sidney, British Columbia.
Riders are encouraged to consult the Best Times to Travel tab on the right of each route’s summer schedule listing on the Transportation Department’s website at wsdot.wa.gov.
Hannah Shirley: 253-597-8670, @itshannah7