Record Number of Thanksgiving Travelers Expected in Massachusetts

HYANNIS – A record number of Massachusetts resident are expected to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday.

AAA predicts that more than 1.26 million people in the Bay State will travel more than 50 miles from home between Wednesday and Sunday, with about 1.1 million taking to the roadways.

“The total number is a record for Massachusetts, in terms of our projections, as is the number of people we project to be driving,” said Mary Maguire, the director of public and legislative affairs for AAA Northeast.

INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts traffic to be 3.4 times greater than normal for Metro Boston during the Wednesday evening commute.

“A lot of those people are going to be headed toward the Cape,” Maguire said. “So I think we are going to see a very busy time on the Cape Cod bridges between the hours of 4 and 7 or 8 on Wednesday night.”

She also says travelers should expect extra volume over the canal bridges Tuesday evening as well.

Maguire said there is always high travel volume for the holiday in the New England states because the states are so close together.

“It’s so easy to get from Massachusetts down to Rhode Island or up to New Hampshire or Vermont. Everything is so close,” Maguire said.

Maguire said AAA is advising people to use real-time travel and weather apps to gauge bridge traffic or be prepared for hazardous conditions.

“It really makes no sense to put yourself in a five-mile backup when you can wait an hour or two and only have a one-mile backup,” Maguire said.

The risk of crashes also increases during holiday weekends due to the higher volume.

“Remember to buckle up, fasten your seatbelt – that’s the most important thing you can do to protect yourself – and don’t drive drowsy drunk or distracted,” Maguire said.

More than 55 million Americans are expected to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday. That would be the second highest volume since AAA began tracking in 2000, trailing only 2005.

“That number of 55 million represents an additional 1.6 million more people traveling this year compared to last year,” Maguire said. “And that is an increase of almost 3 percent over last year.”

Maguire said there are also reports that the Sunday after Thanksgiving will be the busiest day for air travel ever in the United States. About 3.1 million people are predicted to fly on Sunday, December 1.

“I think it really will pay for people to plan accordingly and make their plans ahead of time because it sounds like we are going to see a lot of crowds on that Sunday after Thanksgiving,” Maguire said.

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