Whether you’re leaving this weekend for a three-day vacation or just heading to Puyallup for the fair one afternoon, you’re bound to hit some traffic on popular freeways in and around the Seattle area this weekend.
It’s Labor Day on Monday, meaning a long weekend for most. It’s the weekend known as the unofficial end to summer, and many schools and universities begin the year sometime the following week. (The actual first day of autumn for 2019 is Monday, Sept. 23.)
To maximize your time away and minimize your time stuck in traffic, the Washington State Department of Transportation provided some charts showing the worst times to be on the road throughout the weekend.
As you might expect, hitting the road early in the morning or later in the afternoon will be your best bets for all roads. On Interstate 5, traffic was expected to be bad between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. just about every day and in both directions. Roads like Interstate 90 tend to be the worst during those hours while traveling eastbound on Friday or westbound on Monday. I-90 will also see peak travel volumes heading eastbound on Saturday morning between 9 a.m. and noon.
Charts showing the worst travel times for popular weekend routes are available in the slideshow above.
Ferry travelers should also pack their patience this weekend. WSDOT expected over 500,000 travelers to take a ferry between Thursday, Aug. 29 and Tuesday, Sept. 3.
“That’s enough to fill Husky Stadium seven times,” officials said in a news release.
For shorter wait times, ferries generally have more capacity for those walking or biking on. Early morning or late evening sailings also tend to be less crowded.
As for what to expect once you finally arrive at your destination and are free of traffic — probably more kickoff-to-fall than farewell-to-summer. Cooler temperatures and rain were possible Thursday night and Friday morning, with a “deep marine layer” expected to linger through most of Friday.
More rain was expected along the Pacific coast on Saturday morning. Wet weather may make its way inland by Saturday afternoon.