WSDOT expects Interstate 90 eastbound to be congested or stop-and-go for a good chunk of Friday. On Monday, expect even longer delays on area roadways as drivers head back for work and school.
Are you headed out of town for the Labor Day weekend? Plan ahead. This may come as a shock, but other people are doing the same thing. There’s going to be traffic.
The Washington State Department of Transportation, based on historic traffic patterns, expects “lengthy delays” on Interstate 90. Headed east toward the Cascades, WSDOT expects I-90 to be congested or stop and go for nine hours on Friday, from noon through 9 p.m.
If there’s a saving grace in that chart, it’s that traffic volumes, for the most part, are expected to be only slightly higher than normal.
But if you’re making the return trip on Monday, leave early or leave late. The agency expects about twice as much traffic volume as normal for most of the day, including congestion and stop and go traffic from 9 a.m. through 7 p.m.
And it gets worse. Those I-90 charts don’t take into account ongoing construction between North Bend and Cle Elum, which will close one of the three lanes of traffic — in each direction — in certain hot spots.
“They still serve as a guide for which days and times are expected to see the most congestion,” WSDOT writes, “but the actual volumes may be higher and possibly last longer.”
Things look a little better if you’re headed east on Highway 2, toward Leavenworth. There, WSDOT expects traffic only slightly above average, which means moderate to heavy traffic, but likely not stop and go.
But on the way back? Oh boy. Expect volumes twice that of a normal Monday for much of the day, and 10 hours of moderate to stop-and-go traffic in the middle of the day.
Maybe you’re headed south instead of east? Toward Portland or the Pacific Coast? Interstate 5 is never a picnic and Labor Day weekend will offer no respites.
Expect congestion or stop-and-go traffic for — no joke — 14 hours on Friday between Tacoma and Olympia.
The return trip may be a little better, but WSDOT expects I-5 to be at capacity from 10 a.m. through 6 p.m. Monday.