AAA Expects Slightly Less Thanksgiving Traffic; VDOT Lifts Lane Closures for Holiday

| November 18, 2012 | 0 Comments | News

Over 1.2 million Virginians will travel 50 miles or more from home for the Thanksgiving weekend this year, which is only a minor decrease from 2011 according to AAA.

Despite gas prices that set records almost every day since August, road trips will continue to make up the majority of Thanksgiving travel.

“While gas prices are still high in many areas, they have now dropped lower in Virginia than last year at this time when they were the most expensive average ever on Thanksgiving,” AAA reported.

However, it’s most likely that families will choose to conserve money and find ways to maximize value in their trips.

“Again this year, travelers are finding ways to make their trips happen but keep them affordable.” said Martha Mitchell Meade, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Despite a slight decrease in airfare from last year, the AAA /IHS Global Insight 2012 Thanksgiving  Holiday Travel Forecast indicates air travel in Virginia is also expected to decrease 2.7 percent, as almost 87,000 holiday travelers will take to the skies.

According to AAA, “Those traveling by air will find lower fares, according to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index.  For the Thanksgiving holiday, the average lowest round-trip rate is $188 for the top 40 U.S. air routes, an 11 percent decrease from last year.”

VDOT Lifts Lane Closures, Introduces 495 HOT Lanes

To facilitate travel, the Virginia Department of Transportation will suspend lane closures from noon Wednesday until noon Monday on interstates and roads across the state for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Furthermore, VDOT has announced that motorists traveling on Interstate 495 (Capital Beltway) in Northern Virginia will have two new high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes in each direction from the Springfield Interchange at Interstate 95 to just north of the Dulles Toll Road.

Drivers must have an E-ZPass electronic toll-collection device to access these express lanes.

To minimize travel time in the region, VDOT advises motorist to use available tools such as VDOT’s travel-trend maps; these online maps indicate the varying amounts of interstate traffic by time of day,

“Based on the historic traffic data, the least amount of interstate congestion during the five-day Thanksgiving travel period is likely to occur before noon Wednesday, Nov. 21. The heaviest congestion is likely to occur Sunday, Nov. 25, in the afternoon and evening, with some congestion on Saturday, Nov. 24, evening as well,” VDOT said.


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