Plan for Memorial Day traffic on roads and ferries

  • Thu May 24th, 2018 3:40pm
  • News

Submitted by the Washington State Department of Transportation

This Memorial Day, travelers are advised to plan ahead for heavy traffic on the road and water.

Anacortes construction

A busy highway intersection this weekend will be State Route 20 and State Route 20 Spur at Sharpes Corner in Anacortes. Lane reductions will be in place. Plan extra time as most directions will need to merge from two lanes into one to get through this intersection. That especially means those with ferry reservations. Passengers still need to be through the ferries’ tollbooth 30 minutes before scheduled sailings and there will be waits leaving the area on Monday.


The most noticeable increase in traffic this Memorial Day weekend will be on the Anacortes/San Juan Islands and Port Townsend/Coupeville routes, where ridership will be up 25 to 40 percent compared to other weekends in May.

Washington State Ferries expects many holiday weekend passengers to sail westbound Thursday and Friday, and then eastbound Monday as people return from their Memorial Day getaways. There will be additional service Monday with most routes on a holiday schedule, but passengers should still expect crowds and lines during peak travel times.

The following local sailings are being added to accommodate increased traffic and are not indicated on the printed or online sailing schedule:

Monday, May 28

  • 1:55 p.m. Anacortes to Orcas Island
  • 3:15 p.m. Orcas Island to Anacortes
  • 10:30 p.m. Friday Harbor to Orcas Island to Lopez Island to Anacortes

WSF staff are expecting a high volume of visitors to vehicle reservations website starting at 7 a.m. Saturday. Users attempting to access the site will likely encounter difficulties or delays due to a record number of customers trying to make reservations from the San Juan Islands to Anacortes on Memorial Day. Make a reservation at

Similar to purchasing tickets for a popular event, the number of spaces are limited, and they go quickly. If unable to initially secure a reservation, customers are advised to check the website frequently throughout the day, as reservations are often moved or canceled. Once reservation space is full, customers can still choose to travel standby, which may require long wait times at the terminal.

Drivers should also plan ahead for increased congestion on highways as they make their way to the ferry terminals with real-time traffic information on the WSDOT traffic app for their mobile device.


One of the busiest sections of I-5 this weekend will be between Bellingham and the Canadian border. Check these Washington State Department of Transportation charts to see when the highest volumes are on the route.

For those headed into Canada, remember there are four crossing options in the area. Check U.S. to Canada wait times at Check Canada to U.S. wait times on the British Columbia Transportation website. Traffic cameras can be clicked on to show traffic from both of these websites.