Labor Day 2010: The Recap

While it didn’t quite reach the 10 percent AAA predicted, travel increased in most locations compared to Labor Day weekend 2009. I have no idea why we didn’t reach the 10 percent mark. The weather remains one theory. What’s yours?

Yes, those ferry boats were full. There was a backup on I-90 coming back into the Puget Sound area and through Olympia into Tacoma. But we have seen those most every weekend this summer. And the I-90 backup was stop-and-go, not the stop-and-stop we typically see on busy three-day weekends.

So, what’s the deal? One piece of happy news could be the answer. It seems there were no major traffic incidents at the locations we track for holiday travel. That alone kept traffic moving rather well.

Thanks. And, here are the official numbers.

Over I-90 Snoqualmie Pass, there was a slight increase in traffic volumes over Labor Day compared with 2009. Between Friday and Monday, 191,000 vehicles traveled both directions of Snoqualmie Pass, an increase of 4,000 vehicles, or 2 percent.

  • 53,900 traveled Friday, with 200 (less than 1 percent) more vehicle traveling this year.
  • 43,900 traveled Saturday, with 1,700 (4 percent) more vehicle traveling this year.
  • 42,800 traveled Sunday, with 800 (2 percent) more vehicle traveling this year.
  • 50,000 traveled Monday, with 1,100 (2 percent)

We also tracked traffic in three other locations. In comparison to 2009, on I-5 from Shoreline (north Seattle) to the U.S./Canadian border (for Friday through Monday) there were 140,700 vehicles on I-5, an 11,000 vehicles (or 9 percent) increase compared to 2009.

  • 2,200 more (6 percent) traveled Friday.
  • 2,900 more (9 percent) traveled Saturday.
  • 3,500 more (11 percent) traveled Saturday
  • 2,300 more (8 percent) traveled Monday.

There’s an equipment malfunction so no data on I-5, Olympia to Chehalis (Thurston/Lewis county line), but we can tell you what happened further north, between Olympia and Tacoma. We found the traffic was fairly normal for a summer weekend. And the volume was essentially unchanged compared to the same period in 2009. For Friday through Monday there were 446,000 vehicles on I-5. This was an increase of only 1,100 vehicles (0.2 percent) from 2009.

  • 5,300 fewer (4 percent) traveled on Friday.
  • 2,700 more (2 percent) traveled on Saturday.
  • 6,400 more (7 percent) traveled on Saturday
  • 2,700 fewer (3 percent) traveled on Monday.

We were unable to gather data for westbound US 2/Leavenworth to Stevens Pass this holiday weekend. For Friday through Monday there were 16,700 vehicles on eastbound US 2. This was an increase of 2,200 vehicles (or 15 percent) compared with the same period in 2009. And while this seems like a large jump, we didn’t have any backups Monday on westbound US 2 coming back.

Another hmmmmmmm. What’s your theory?