AAA projects 54.3 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving — and most of them are coming to your house.
Just kidding on that last part.
AAA says the 2018 holiday weekend — defined as Wednesday, Nov. 21, to Sunday, Nov. 25 — will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume in more than a dozen years (since 2005), with 2.5 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year.
That’s an increases of about 4.8 percent.
For the 48.5 million Americans planning a Thanksgiving road trip, INRIX, a global mobility analytics company, predicts travel times in the most congested cities in the U.S. could be as much as four times longer than a normal trip.
Here in the Chicago area, the “delay multiplier” is only two times the norm.
INRIX says the worst time to hit the road is 2:30 p.m. to 4:40 p.m. Wednesday, and the worst driving “hot spot” is I-94 West, Exit 40A to 1.
The worst travel times to O’Hare are in that same part of the day — from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. The worst place and direction to be driving at that time is downtown to O’Hare via the Kennedy Expressway West.
“Thanksgiving is one of the busiest holidays for road trips, and this year will be no different,” says Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic. Our advice to drivers is to avoid commuting times in major cities altogether or plan alternative routes.”
In most cases, the best days to travel will be on Thanksgiving Day, Friday or Saturday. Drivers should expect increased travel times on Sunday as most holiday travelers will be making their way home after the long weekend.
Area Road Work
The Illinois Department of Transportation will not have additional construction closures in place from 5 a.m. Wednesday until 12:01 a.m. Monday, but there is a lot of road work out there.
Here are a few links:
- Kennedy Expressway at Cumberland
- Jane Byrne Interchange
- Dan Ryan at 95th/CTA Red Line Station
- Tri-State (I-294) Reconstruction
- North Tri-State (I-94) construction
- South Tri-State (I-294/I-80) repair project
- Reagan Tollway (I-88) at I-290
- Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355)
- Veterans Memorial Bridge Repairs (I-355)
For more information, visit: https://www.travelmidwest.com
Black Friday Heads Up
The Aurora Police Department and the Chicago Premium Outlets mall are issuing alerts for this year’s Black Friday event scheduled to kick off on Thanksgiving evening, Thursday, Nov. 22.
Click on the following for more information, included suggested alternative routes.
Good News on Economy, Bad News on Gas Prices
One of the reasons travel and shopping are up this year is because of the relative health of the economy this year.
“Consumers have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season: higher wages, more disposable income and rising levels of household wealth,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA Travel senior vice president. “This is translating into more travelers kicking off the holiday season with a Thanksgiving getaway, building on a positive year for the travel industry.”
The flip side is that gas prices are up.
Motorists can expect to pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices in four years, with a national average of $2.79 as of Nov. 1 — which is 31 cents more than a year ago.
“Motorists have become accustomed to this year’s more expensive gas prices and won’t let higher fuel costs deter them from taking Thanksgiving road trips,” said AAA gas price expert Jeanette Casselano.
Think Safety First
AAA expects to rescue nearly 360,000 motorists at the roadside this Thanksgiving.
Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble.
AAA recommends motorists take their vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown.
SOURCE: AAA news release