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Old 09-10-2019, 02:45 PM   #1
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Bypass Seattle on highway 18 from I-5

I want to use highway 18 to bypass Seattle. How is the road?
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Old 09-10-2019, 03:24 PM   #2
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The road is good. The traffic is abysmal. 18 is part of the main Seattle commute anymore. Several recently established/enlarged bedroom communities have increased traffic immensely.

Where are you trying to get to?
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:58 PM   #3
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We tried that. It would have been more fun getting a root canal.


We live in Birch Bay and have tried everything and I still hang on to the I5 going thru Seattle. Sunday we went north on the 5 thru Seattle at 1PM and at 45MPH, non stop.
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Old 09-10-2019, 10:07 PM   #4
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As others have stated the road is decent, but depending on the time of day and direction traffic is terrible. This is the quickest way out of town for us - just came north on it to get to I-90 about 0900am Monday morning. Things came to a complete standstill a few miles from 90 so we sat for a bit. Same thing southbound - if we come back mid-afternoon - say 2pm or later - the off-ramp from 90 is backed up quite a ways and it's extremely slow going or stop-n-go for several miles south. If you can time your transit for late morning or noon that would probably be your best bet.
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Old 09-10-2019, 10:22 PM   #5
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We drove up from Portland to Seattle and were amazed at how bad traffic was. Of course, Portland had a drawbridge on I5 which stopped traffic for a sailboat and while cruising along at 5mph we watched the guy panhandling with his two young daughters at a on ramp. The tent city under the overpass was entertaining when you have time to gawk but once the traffic picked up we sped along at 20 mph.



My brother works for a public works company who designs these highways. It's hard to ask why when they just shrug and give you a silly grin.
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Old 09-10-2019, 10:39 PM   #6
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The only good Seattle bypass I know of is Hwy 101 up the East side of the Olympic Peninsula then ferry from Port Townsend to Coopville. Total time more zero stress level!
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Old 09-10-2019, 11:16 PM   #7
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Where are you heading?
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Old 09-10-2019, 11:59 PM   #8
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The only good Seattle bypass I know of is Hwy 101 up the East side of the Olympic Peninsula then ferry from Port Townsend to Coopville. Total time more zero stress level!
Very enjoyable drive too. Made that trip recently on the way to North Cascade NP.

You can reserve a spot on the ferry.
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:12 AM   #9
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The only good Seattle bypass I know of is Hwy 101 up the East side of the Olympic Peninsula then ferry from Port Townsend to Coopville. Total time more zero stress level!
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Where are you heading?

Well looking at the OP's info, they come from Lynden WA. If they are looking at Hwy 18 as a Seattle bypass going north it ends at I90 near north Bend. I90 west dumps you either on to I405 or I5 Bellevue or Seattle.
The worst part of traveling I5 north of Olympia is the traffic. It starts in Olympia, it gets worse as you approach JBLM (AKA Ft. Lewis & McCord AFB) if one continues on I5 there is the mess in Tacoma, before Federal Way, then Seattle, it doesn't really improve until north of Everett.

The last time I drove through this area was about six years ago traveling in our car to the San Juan Islands. It was far worse than when I commuted between Puyallup and Bellevue in the late 90's



We went again in the fall of 2016, and took the 101 route up the the Olympic Peninsula much of which is along Hood Canal sooooo relaxing and beautiful.
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Old 09-11-2019, 09:54 AM   #10
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bypass 5

Thank you everyone for the input. I should have listed our whole planned route around the Seattle area and generally avoiding I 5. We have used Hwy 9 to Hwy 20 and back, and like the drive. Our plan South, would be Hwy 9 to Hwy 2 East to Hwy 230, South East to 202, and take the Sqnowqualamie parkway onto 18 South. Then back onto I 5 South near Federal Way.
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Old 09-11-2019, 10:10 AM   #11
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Thank you everyone for the input. I should have listed our whole planned route around the Seattle area and generally avoiding I 5. We have used Hwy 9 to Hwy 20 and back, and like the drive. Our plan South, would be Hwy 9 to Hwy 2 East to Hwy 230, South East to 202, and take the Sqnowqualamie parkway onto 18 South. Then back onto I 5 South near Federal Way.

I'd probably take 167 S off of 18 at Auburn and then get on Hwy 512 S and get back on I-5 south of Tacoma.
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Old 09-11-2019, 11:10 AM   #12
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Thank you everyone for the input. I should have listed our whole planned route around the Seattle area and generally avoiding I 5. We have used Hwy 9 to Hwy 20 and back, and like the drive. Our plan South, would be Hwy 9 to Hwy 2 East to Hwy 230, South East to 202, and take the Sqnowqualamie parkway onto 18 South. Then back onto I 5 South near Federal Way.
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I'd probably take 167 S off of 18 at Auburn and then get on Hwy 512 S and get back on I-5 south of Tacoma.
If you want to avoid using a ferry ($$) your route with adding what AudiDudi stated is the best option as JBLM and Olympia are the least of the traffic issues.
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Old 09-11-2019, 12:39 PM   #13
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Another vote for AudiDudi's suggestion to bypass Tacoma as well via S 167/512. Things are a complete mess down towards Fife and the Tacoma Dome via I-5. This is the way we go anytime we head south and for the most part it works pretty well, though late morning to mid-day are your best bets. S 167 gets really clogged early afternoon on.
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Old 09-11-2019, 01:41 PM   #14
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I'd probably take 167 S off of 18 at Auburn and then get on Hwy 512 S and get back on I-5 south of Tacoma.
My goodness! What did the OP do to piss you off? (jk)

That route is pure commuting evil. They even charge to use the lanes on 167, which is a massive "stalled vehicles towed" zone. 512 is a short spur between I5 and Puyallup, most commonly used by the DOT as a daytime parking lot for wayward commuters and hapless travelers. That entire south end of Pierce County is a semi-rolling roadblock, except in the wee hours. If you're going to run down the Kent Valley, do the eastern edge on the tertiary highways, go over the Enumclaw Plateau, and find your way to highway 12 around Mossyrock or Randell on the mountain highways. Any number of roads will get you there.

Or time your trip for a non-Seahawks evening, and plan to be at the intersection of 18 and I90 about 9PM or later. Simply continue on I90 to I5, turn left, and hang on. I rolled my class A up through the mess north from Olympia to Everett a month ago, during the peak of tourist season. I had a few minutes of creep-and-go due to construction near JBLM and again due to construction just north of Seattle. Otherwise I ran 45 - 65 through Seattle proper, making my ferry at Mukilteo in good time. My opinion from having to make this run frequently is that the later you can do it, the easier it is on your brakes and nerves.

But if distance is no object, I agree that I5-US20w-Deception Pass-Pt. Townsend Ferry-101S is the most fun. You can run parallel to the I5 corridor clear to Elma, and then meander East on 12 or any of the other tertiary e/w highways.
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