Independence Day travel recap - where did you go?

I hope you had a safe Independence Day weekend. Nice weather, good people, well-behaved children, minimal wait times. I hope you were lucky enough to have a few of those. Olympia was pretty cold, but we were lucky enough to stay dry.

If you were on Washington’s roadways, you should be able to say yes to one – those minimal wait times. The Washington State Ferries were very busy per usual, but for the most part, those of you travelling over the hills and through the woods didn’t face too much traffic.

Over I-90 Snoqualmie Pass, the number were very similar to Independence Day 2008 (also a three-day weekend - when Independence Day fell on a Friday), however there was a spike in Monday evening traffic.

  • Close to 200,000 vehicles traveled both directions of Snoqualmie Pass between Thursday and Monday, nearly the same amount of vehicles as in 2008.
  • Close to 50,000 traveled Monday, almost 10,000 more than in 2008. The heaviest traffic was from noon to 9 p.m.
  • We noticed more drivers travelling later in the day, with a pretty large spike in the 8 p.m. hour. That’s a good thing, since spreading the traffic out over the day helps reduce backups during peak times, and more traveling later helped keep the delays to a minimum.

As for the other days on I-90 (also in comparison to 2008):

  • 2,700 fewer vehicles traveled Friday.
  • 3,800 fewer vehicles traveled Saturday.
  • 4,500 fewer vehicles traveled Sunday.
We also track traffic in three other locations where we typically see an increase numbers on three-day weekends. In these locations, we are showing you the comparison to 2009, when Independence Day was a Saturday, not a three-day weekend.

On I-5 from Shoreline (north Seattle) to the U.S./Canadian border

  • For Friday through Monday there were 167,000 vehicles. This was a decrease of 8,200 (5 percent) compared to the same period in 2009.
  • 3,400 fewer vehicles traveled Thursday.
  • 1,300 fewer traveled Friday.
  • 2,000 fewer traveled Saturday.
  • Sunday travel was unchanged from 2009.
  • 1,600 fewer traveled Monday.

I-5, Olympia to Chehalis (Thurston/Lewis county line)
Unfortunately, we had technical problems here, losing a traffic loop. So at this location we were unable to do a comparison.

US 2, Stevens Pass
For Friday through Monday we counted a total of 39,700 vehicles on US 2. This was an increase of 4,000 vehicles (10 percent) compared with the same period in 2009.

  • 1,000 more vehicles traveled on Thursday.
  • 800 more vehicles traveled Friday.
  • 1,100 more vehicles traveled Saturday.
  • 500 more vehicles traveled Sunday.
  • 600 more vehicles traveled Monday.

Interesting stuff…2010 actually shows lower volumes from 2009. And 2010 was a three-day state holiday. I wonder if it was the weather forecast. Or maybe everyone went somewhere else. The beach?