Holiday traffic jams on U.S. 2 are inevitable

Coming home from east of the mountains on Highway 2 on a Sunday is never easy.

Holiday weekends are even worse.

Driving home on Memorial Day Monday this year — even with state efforts to adjust signal timing — had some drivers seriously pondering pulling their hair out.

“I was heading home from backpacking near Skykomish. The traffic was stop and go nearly the entire way,” said our own Jessi Loerch, who writes our Explore NW blog. “It took my nearly three hours to get home. It took me less an hour going the other way.”

A major chokepoint appeared to be the light at Sultan Basin Road.

Folks at the state Department of Transportation say things are about as good as they can get on the corridor.

Signal timing for a weekend on U.S. 2 is set to give 160 seconds of green for highway traffic.

“This is actually the most green time given to any movement out of the 450-plus intersections operated by the Washington State Department of Transportation,” said Greg Wagner, the signal operations engineer for the corridor. “Unfortunately, this is a situation where the traffic demand at this particular time is greater than the capacity of U.S. 2 and delays are inevitable.”

On big holiday weekends, like Memorial Day and Thanksgiving, the state puts out tips on best times to travel and other resources.

“If I ever do anything on U.S. 2 on a holiday again,” Loerch said, “I’m coming home a day later.”

Have a question? Email us at Please include your name and city of residence. Look for updates on our Street Smarts blog.

Talk to us

More in Local News

The Everett Police Department was investigating a woman's death Sunday morning after a driver hit and killed her on Broadway in north Everett. (Everett Police Department)
Woman killed by suspected impaired driver in Everett

A driver reportedly hit the person, which prompted the closure of Broadway between 17th and 19th streets Sunday morning.

Charges: North Everett murder suspect caught on camera

Jeremiah Stringfellow, 27, is being held on first-degree murder charges for the fatal shooting of Naej Belledent, 22.

Police: Snohomish man fled to Oregon after Arlington shooting

The wounded man, 30, was left in critical condition. The suspect, 39, was arrested for investigation of first-degree assault.

A snow plow clears snow off of 92nd Avenue West on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Another dusting, with more snow on the way in Snohomish County?

Light snow showers hit the area Friday morning. Another system was coming in the evening. And yet another next week.

Pedestrian killed in hit-and-run collision on Highway 99

Glenn Starks was walking on the shoulder south of Everett when a car struck him, police say. The car’s driver ran away from the scene.

Monroe High School (Monroe School District)
‘Set for the next four years’: Monroe schools levy officially passes

The levy funds 14% of the district’s budget including athletics, extracurricular activities and some transportation services.

The Washington State Patrol was investigating a fatal crash involving multiple vehicles Thursday on Highway 530 near Oso. (Washington State Patrol)
Darrington man identified in fatal 4-vehicle crash on Highway 530

Ryan Gray was driving east of Arlington when he rear-ended a Jeep, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Lisa Lefeber, CEO of the Port of Everett, speaks to a crowd while in front of a sign celebrating the opening of the new Norton Terminal on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, at the Port of Everett in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Port of Everett christens new Norton cargo terminal

The $40 million terminal took two years to complete and doubles the port’s storage capacity.

Snow lingered outside the office building of Receivables Performance Management on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Lynnwood data breach exposed sensitive info for 3.7 million across US

Lawsuits allege lax security at a debt collection agency led to the attack. It wasn’t announced for over a year.

Most Read