Traveling over holidays? Plan ahead, WSDOT advises

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WSDOTWhile wrapping final presents and whipping up holiday treats, make sure to also plan ahead for stress-free holiday travel, the Washington State Department of Transportation says.

By following these steps, drivers can be celebrating with family and friends, instead of sitting on a freeway:

· Check the Washington State Department of Transportation’s best times to travel tips. Three-day Christmas weekends are rare, but WSDOT analysts have used their best historical data to predict travel times.
· Get informed about WSDOT’s online tools, including mobile apps, traffic cameras and email alerts.
· Visit online traveler information for traffic, weather and ferry schedules.
· 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 on the WSDOT passes website, highway advisory signs or by calling 5-1-1.
· Leave extra time for holiday and winter travel, drive safe and keep warm.

Recent Storm Closures
Two recent storm damage closures may need to be factored into drivers’ holiday travel plans:
· White Pass on US 12 remains closed in both directions as of Dec. 17, but the goal is to reopen one lane in each direction by Christmas, weather dependent. Check the White Pass washout page for updates.
· One of three lanes on northbound Interstate 5 remains closed near Woodland and will remain so through the holiday. There is no estimated date for reopening the third lane. Check our Southwest Region page for updates.

Aside from emergency repair work, most other state highway construction work is suspended beginning noon Thursday, Dec. 24, through the weekend to ease congestion.

In the mountains, the North Cascades Highway (State Route 20) and Chinook (State Route 410) and Cayuse (junction of State Routes 123 and 410) passes have closed for the winter. On Snoqualmie Pass (elevation 3,022) plan for possible 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 Christmas Day, Friday, Dec. 25. Also, on the new Interstate 405 express toll lanes, the free carpool requirement will be two people all day on Christmas.

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