Thanksgiving Travel Volume Expected to be Highest Level Since 2005

HYANNIS – Travel delays should be expected for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday as volume is expected to be at the highest levels since 2005.

AAA predicts that more than 54 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home, which is a 4.8 percent increase from last year.

More than 1.2 million Massachusetts residents are expected to travel for the holiday with more than 1 million traveling by car.

“We’ll have plenty of company on those Cape Cod bridges and on our roadways,” said Mary Maguire, the AAA Northeast Director of Public and Legislative Affairs.

The heaviest travel in Massachusetts and the Metro-Boston area is expected to be Tuesday afternoon between 4 and 6 p.m. and traffic could be up to 4 times greater than normal.

“We have seen in the past three years that Tuesday is emerging as the big travel day, the heaviest travel day,” Maguire said. “And this year is no exception.”

The worst traffic hot spot is expected to be on Interstate 495 Southbound between exits 41 and 33.

Another heavy traffic location is where I-495 meets the Mass Pike.

“[That is] always a hot spot for people who are going north to New Hampshire, Vermont and etc. and for people headed south to Cape Cod,” Maguire said.

Maguire also recommends that people traveling by car also check to make sure vehicles are in proper working condition.

Tires should be checked as heavy rains or ice can be a possibility in the late November.

“Drives should also make sure that hoses are in good shape, that fluids are topped off that you have had an oil change if you need it,” Maguire said. “You want to make sure your that your car is in good shape especially because with so many people out on the road traveling for Thanksgiving and the fact that there are going to be delays, you don’t want to delay yourself even more by having a break down or an issue with your car.”

Record low unemployment across the nation and locally in Massachusetts, along with gas prices trending downward are factors that could lead to increased travelers.

Maguire also recommends returning travelers to take to the roadways early Sunday morning to avoid delays.

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