Thanksgiving travel plans? Know before you go, state transportation department advises

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travel timesReady to gobble down some turkey and stuffing? First, make sure you’ve cooked up a plan to navigate heavy Thanksgiving weekend traffic.

The best recipe for successful holiday travel is to plan ahead:

· Check the Washington State Department of Transportation’s best times to travel tips.
· Get informed about WSDOT’s mobile app and online tools for traffic information and ferry schedules.
· Check out WSDOT’s social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook.
· Pre-program your vehicle radio to 530 AM and 1610 AM for highway advisory radio alerts.
· Carry chains and other winter driving essentials. Check current chain and traction requirements at the WSDOT website, on highway advisory signs or by calling 5-1-1.
· Leave extra time for holiday and winter travel, drive safe and keep warm.

In the mountains, State Route 123 Cayuse Pass (elevation 4,675 feet), State Route 20 North Cascades Highway (elevation 5,477 feet) and Chinook Pass (elevation 5,430 feet) remain open as of Nov. 21, but the status can change quickly. On Snoqualmie Pass (elevation 3,022), plan for longer avalanche control delays this winter as work to widen Interstate 90 continues. Check the most current Washington pass conditions before heading out.

In the Puget Sound, the State Route 520 bridge will have weekend toll rates on Thanksgiving, Nov. 27, returning to weekday rates on Black Friday, Nov. 28. To ease congestion, most state highway construction work is suspended beginning noon Wednesday, Nov. 26, through the weekend. Travelers planning a trip by ferry, train, personal aircraft or bus should also make plans to avoid holiday delays:

· Please plan ahead for heavy holiday ferry traffic. The longest lines are expected westbound Wednesday afternoon and evening, Nov. 26, and eastbound Friday morning, Nov. 28. Some routes will be on a holiday schedule on Thursday, Nov. 27. Check the Washington State Ferries website, www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/, or call toll-free 888-808-7977 for details and wait times.
WSDOT added two Amtrak Cascades trains Wednesday, Nov. 26, and Sunday, Nov. 30, to the existing Thanksgiving schedule between Seattle and Portland. All Amtrak Cascades trains require reservations, and passengers are encouraged to purchase tickets early; Thanksgiving sells out quickly. Visit www.amtrakcascades.com or call 800–USA–RAIL for reservations and information.

· For information about traveling via state-operated airports, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/aviation/airports/Amenities.htm or call 800-552-0666.
· Most public transit systems will follow a holiday schedule, and some transit systems will not operate fixed-route or Dial-A-Ride service on holidays.

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