No delays on Snoqualmie? Okay, what's the punchline.

“For the first time any of us can remember, there were no backups on I-90 for the long holiday weekend.”

When I heard this earlier today from my colleague Mike in Union Gap, I was a bit skeptical. No backups on I-90, on a holiday weekend? In the summer? He had to be kidding.

Well, it’s true – compared to the three-day weekend in 2010, I-90 travel was down, but just a tiny bit. This year, we counted 200,810 vehicles both directions over Snoqualmie Pass, down 2,894 from last year. That’s only 1.4 percent.

It wasn’t that slim decrease that kept traffic moving all weekend. For the story, you need to check out what happened Sunday and Monday.

  • On Sunday, we counted 36,491 vehicles over I-90, a 23.7 percent increase from 2010.

  • Then, on Monday, there were only 34,474 going over the pass, a 30.2 percent decrease.

So, how did that help? And more importantly, how did that happen?

First, that helped because when you split traffic between two days (rather than everyone travelling the same day) you get what we saw on I-90 this weekend– no backups or delays. Half the people went Sunday and the other half Monday (more or less).


As for how it happened – I’d like to think it’s because all the drivers used our travel graphs. Ya’ll did, right? But if not, if there’s some reservation system for who gets to drive when, will you let me know where to find it? I want to get my spot for Labor Day.

As for the other locations we track, our projections were pretty close. The traffic on I-5 near the Canadian border was up just a bit from 2010, about 7 percent. It must have been those Canada Day revelers. They may have then made their way over US 2 to Stevens Pass, as this route was also up 7 percent.

One place that did see a decrease was I-5 between Tacoma and Olympia. South Sound travel was down 3 percent, right about what AAA predicted.