Travel snarls expected on holiday weekend

Fourth of July weekend will mean a lot of travel on and off the island, both on water and roads.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that the Fourth of July holiday weekend will mean a lot of travel on and off the island, both on water and roads. State transportation officials urge travelers to plan ahead.

The Washington ferry system has already seen an uptick in commuters.

“It’s already started, as far as I’m concerned, but it’ll just ramp up as we head towards Thursday and Friday of this week,” said Ian Sterling, public information officer of Washington State Ferries.

On ferry routes that have full service, such as the Mukilteo-Clinton route, the number of people traveling will be “very close” to pre-pandemic levels, Sterling said.

To cut down on waiting in line, he recommended not to travel during peak times, or board on foot, if you are able.

The good news is that on both the Coupeville-Port Townsend and Mukilteo-Clinton routes, the galleys are opening back up this week for the first time since the pandemic began.

“It won’t be full service yet, but we’re beginning to ramp that back up,” Sterling said.

Those traveling by car should also expect delays, especially on Deception Pass Bridge.

“Travelers need to plan for extra time,” said RB McKeon, who works in communications for the Washington State Department of Transportation.

As well as leaving early to get to Fourth of July celebrations on time, drivers should be careful when driving on and off the island.

“When you have places like Deception Pass where it’s one lane each direction like that, it really takes only one incident, one collision, to really snarl up traffic, ” McKeon said.

Be sure to plan ahead, only park in designated areas and bring plenty of snacks and activities to keep yourself and your family occupied when traveling this weekend.