Memorial Day traffic clogs Orcas Island ferry

  • Tue Jun 17th, 2008 8:16pm
  • News

What may be most memorable about the past Memorial Day weekend is the difficulty getting on and off Orcas Island.

Statistics for Monday, May 26 show that 976 vehicles had to wait for at least one ferry. In the afternoon, some 308 vehicles were lined up a mile down the County road, according to Ed Sutton, Ferry Advisory Committee Chair. The maximum capacity of the holding area is 175-200 vehicles, said Sutton.

Here’s the day’s vehicle traffic tally:

7 a.m. ferry loaded 98 vehicles and left 54 on overload

10:30 a.m. ferry loaded 118, left 218.

2 p.m. ferry loaded 123, left 308.

4:15 p.m. ferry loaded 145, left 200.

5:15 p.m. ferry loaded 70, left 147.

6:30 p.m. ferry loaded 58, left 99.

Extra service was provided by the Sealth at 10:10 p.m., which loaded 121 cars.

Sutton said, “We are reasonably sure that many folks turned around and stayed the night. The redeye on Tuesday took 98 and left 50 and our loads during the day were very high.

“We have to find a way to deal with this. It is just not reasonable for visitors to spend a full day waiting for a ferry, in both directions.”

The situation on Lopez Island was better, with 120 vehicles overloaded for the 11 a.m. ferry, overloads on the 1:40 p.m., 2:25 p.m. and 5:05 ferry cleared up by the 5:40 p.m. ferry.

Totals for the day were 738 vehicles off-loaded from Orcas and 397 off-loaded from Lopez, of which 240 were overloaded during the day.