Commuters brace for delays as Chinese president travels around region

TACOMA -- Expect even more traffic problems Wednesday as China’s president travels around Western Washington.

Some of the top CEOs will join President Xi Jinping Wednesday morning at the Westin in downtown Seattle, where he’s staying. The area around the hotel has been the center of the roadblocks and heightened security checks, but as the president makes his way to other parts of the region Wednesday, expect some serious delays.

Washington State Department of Transportation cameras captured the scene as traffic came to a halt on Interstate 5 near Everett Tuesday morning as Xi left Paine Field, prompting some drivers to break the law and go the wrong way on on-ramps, a move Washington State Patrol troopers say could cost you a $423 ticket.

It’s just a taste of what’s to come as the region’s commuters brace for another day on roads, already infamous for their delays.

“Basically, it could be in the morning commute, in the evening commute, but regardless of the time, this is going to create a major traffic impact situation here that will likely linger for several hours,” said WSDOT's Justin Fujioka.

On Wednesday, President Xi will depart the Westin Hotel at 10:30 a.m. to head to Boeing in Everett,  just missing the morning commute.

From Boeing, he’s expected to head straight to Microsoft headquarters in Redmond for an afternoon of tech demonstrations.

He will then head to the South Sound for a visit at Lincoln High School in Tacoma. His route will take him down I-5 south, during the start of the late-afternoon rush hour. Expect closures that could jam up the commute for most of the evening.