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Development & Transportation

Traveling for Thanksgiving? Be Ready For Busy Roads


Are you one of the 43.6 million Americans traveling more than 50 miles for their Thanksgiving celebration? If so, consider traveling on an off day or be prepared to hit traffic.

Ruth Nagy, Managing Director of Travel Operations for AAA East Central, said about 90 percent of travelers, or 39.1 million, this Thanksgiving will be going by car.  She said some are flying, but limited seats being offered by the airlines have reduced that number.

“Our roadways will be very busy. The Wednesday before the holiday, of course, is expected to be the busiest travel day,” said Nagy. “If you’re going to travel that day you want to pack your patience, be prepared for heavier traffic on that day. If you happen to be flying on the day, you want to make sure that you show up to the airport a little bit earlier than you normally do.”

The Allegheny County Airport Authority is now offering an hour of free parking in its Extended Term Parking Lot, for people driving their friends and family to the airport.

Nagy said people should consider leaving Thursday morning because few people will be on the road. She said other days to avoid travel include the Sunday and Monday after the holiday.

Nagy said for those forced to drive on the busiest days, prepare alternate routes.

“GPSs are a great thing, if you’re traveling on your route and you don’t have to detour off of it,” said Nagy. “Make sure you have a map with you of the area that you’re traveling to so that you have some flexibility that, if a particular interstate is closed, you can open up that map and make your way around what could be a two or three hour delay.”

Nagy said it’s important for people to drive conservatively and schedule their trips appropriately.  What was once a two-hour trip could easily turn into two and a half hours this year.