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 streetsmarts@heraldnet.com. Please include your name and city of residence. Look for updates on our Street Smarts blog.

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