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Holiday driving in Washington – what you need to know

Traffic before Tuesday’s Fourth of July holiday will pick up Friday on Interstate 5 and other Western Washington highways.
Traffic before Tuesday’s Fourth of July holiday will pick up Friday on Interstate 5 and other Western Washington highways. Staff photographer

Just because the Fourth of July lands on a Tuesday this year doesn’t mean traveling this weekend will be any less hectic.

Both Interstate 90 and Interstate 5 will have lanes closed, and there are some changes to tolling and ferry schedules.

Here’s what you should know before hitting the road:

Northbound I-5 and Seattle

First the good news: There will be no construction over the weekend on the four-mile stretch of I-5 between state Route 516 and South Center. Work will resume next weekend, July 7-10.

Beginning at 11 p.m. Friday, northbound freeway traffic in Seattle will be reduced to one lane between James and Mercer streets.

The Cherry Street on-ramp to northbound I-5 will be closed at 11 p.m. The express lanes will be open until 5 a.m. Saturday.

All lanes and ramps will be open by 5 a.m. Saturday.

Expect extra congestion Saturday because of the Mexico versus Paraguay soccer game at Century Link Field at 5 p.m. and the Queen concert at 7 p.m. at Key Arena.

I-90 and Snoqualmie Pass

If you’re heading east this weekend, both directions of I-90 have lane closures 24 hours a day between North Bend and Ellensburg as a result of several projects.

Drivers leaving Friday night should plan for an extra 30 minutes of travel time because of heavy traffic for the weekend, according to the state Department of Transportation.

The department advises travelers to carry snacks and water in case of a backup.

Crews will not be working Saturday through Tuesday, but lanes will remain closed because sections of pavement have been removed for construction.

The I-90 Bellevue Way ramps will be closed from 7 a.m. Saturday to 9 p.m. Sunday for work on the Sound Transit light rail.

The Transportation Department offers these ways for drivers to plan ttrips on I-90:

▪ Download its free smartphone app.

▪ Text 468311 with the words “WSDOT Snoqualmie” for alerts about closures and delays.

▪ Tune into the Highway Advisory Radio at 1610 AM or 530 AM.

▪ Call 5-1-1 from a hands-free device.

Summer ferry schedule

The summer ferry schedule has started, so be aware of any changed sailing times. Late-night sailing through Sunday from Mukilteo to Clinton has also been added.

Plan on longer wait times at the Seattle ferry terminal toll booth because of construction preparation at Colman Dock.

To avoid long waits, the Transportation Department recommends walking on the ferry rather than driving if possible.

Increased SR 520 bridge toll rates

Tolls on the state Route 520 bridge between Seattle and Bellevue will increase by 10 to 20 cents throughout the day Saturday. Trips between 11 p.m. Saturday and 5 a.m. Sunday will cost $1.25 for those with Good To Go! passes.

The additional $2 per crossing Pay By Mail charge hasn’t changed.

For Tuesday’s holiday, the bridge will charge its new weekend toll rates. The Interstate 405 express toll lanes will be free for everyone — no pass or carpooling required.

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