SEATTLE — Do you plan to visit family or take a vacation before the summer ends this Labor Day weekend? Here are the best and worst times to hit the road in western Washington, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), as traffic is expected to be higher than usual.
WSDOT shared travel charts earlier this week for Interstate 5 between Lacey and Tacoma, I-90 between Northbend and Cle Elum and US 2 between Stevens Pass and Skykomish.
WSDOT traffic analysts look at previous Labor Day weekend traffic trends as the base for the traffic charts.
WSDOT said as the graphs turn green to yellow, drivers can expect some congestion, but once red, the roadway is at capacity, meaning any small incident could cause a significant backup. The black line across each graph is the average amount of traffic on that particular day.
I-5 between Lacey and Tacoma
Those traveling on I-5 should expect heavy traffic congestion throughout the entire Labor Day weekend.
I-5 will begin to see heavy congestion as early as 6 a.m. Thursday. You can expect heavy congestion Thursday between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., Friday between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m., Saturday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Sunday between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. and Tuesday between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The heaviest traffic congestion is expected southbound Friday between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. and northbound Tuesday between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m.
I-5 Labor Day traffic charts
I-90 between Northbend and Cle Elum
If you're traveling on I-90 between Northbend and Cle Elum, you can expect heavy congestion eastbound Friday and Saturday and westbound Sunday and Tuesday.
The heaviest traffic congestion is expected eastbound Friday between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., eastbound Saturday between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., westbound Sunday between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m., and westbound Monday between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
I-90 Labor Day traffic charts
US 2 between Stevens Pass and Skykomish
Those traveling between Stevens Pass and Skykomish on US 2 can expect the first amount of heavy congestion beginning noon Friday.
The heaviest traffic congestion is expected eastbound Friday between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m., eastbound Saturday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and westbound Monday between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Higher than average traffic, expected to be moderate to heavy, is eastbound Sunday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. and westbound between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., with the highest above-average day being Monday.
US 2 Labor Day traffic charts
WSDOT is asking travelers to plan ahead to save time and frustration.
Download our free KING 5 app to stay up-to-date on news stories from across western Washington.