Memorial Day Movers Prepare for Traffic Snarls

Posted on May 28 2010 - 8:58am by Tony Gonzalez

People who are moving and relocating over the weekend in order to take advantage of the long weekend for unpacking should plan for long travel times on congested roads. A recent survey done by AAA shows that 32.1 million Americans plan to be on the road this weekend — if accurate, AAA’s figures mean that about 5.4 percent more people will be traveling over Memorial Day weekend this year than did last year. If gas prices continue to drop, though, AAA’s estimates may prove low. 

“Travel decisions are made at the last minute more than in the past,” AAA Carolinas president and CEO David Parsons said in The Lexington Dispatch yesterday afternoon. “With gas prices dropping daily, abundant hotel weekend deals and warm weather, staycations are losing their appeal.” 

In the Washington, D.C. area, about 800,000 people told AAA surveyors that they planned to travel over Memorial Day weekend, and of those, 684,900 expected to travel by car. Officials at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge estimated that more than 350,000 vehicles would cross the bridge this weekend. They urged drivers to strive to drive at less popular driving times, such as early morning or late in the evening. Adding to holiday traffic on the bridge will be traffic to and from the U.S. Naval Academy graduation, which will end just after noon. The NCAA lacrosse championship games being played at the M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore will add to congestion on I-95.

There is one bright note for weekend drivers — in an attempt to reduce traffic congestion, officials in many states have decided to suspend all highway construction projects for the weekend. Construction will be suspended in the Carolinas, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia.

On the other hand, road construction has not been canceled in Ohio. Some California road construction will be suspended, but other projects will not. Most, but not all, Washington projects will be suspended as well.

Sources used:

Bodenheimer, David. “Fluctuating gas prices decline for Memorial Day holiday.” The Lexington Dispatch. May 27, 2010.

“Drivers beware: Ore. entering construction season.”  May 27, 2010.

“Expect traffic delays during Memorial Day weekend.” Columbus, GA. May 27, 2010.

Halsey, Ashley III. “AAA: More people planning to travel Memorial Day weekend than did last year.” The Washington Post. May 27, 2010.

“Highway construction projects statewide suspended for Memorial Day holiday.” Idaho State Journal.  May 27, 2010.

Illinois Tollway Press Releases. “Illinois Tollway suspends construction lane closures over Memorial Day holiday weekend.” May 24, 2010.

Indrelunas, Brian. “Promising start expected for summer travel season.” The Desert Sun. May 27, 2010.

New Jersey Department of Transportation. “NJDOT to restore original traffic pattern on route 80 in Morris County.” The Alternative Press. May 26, 2010.

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. “More Memorial Day travelers expected on Pennsylvania Turnpike this weekend.” May 27, 2010.

Prager, Mike. “As times improve, travelers pack bags.” The Spokesman-Review. May 24, 2010.

“Road projects could hamper holiday weekend travel.” 10 TV May 27, 2010. 

“TDOT suspends all lane closure activity for busy holiday weekend; urges safety in work zones.” Newsroom. May 26, 2010.