One Million Area Residents Will Hit Highway This Weekend

Beltway Traffic/Credit: BethesdaNow.comMore than one million Washington, DC-area residents are getting ready to hit the road for the long July 4 holiday weekend, says AAA Mid-Atlantic.

AAA estimated one-fifth of area residents will travel 50 miles or more from home (and countless residents from other areas will travel to DC for the holiday).

That comprises a 0.4 percent increase in the number of Washington metro area residents who traveled at this time last year, says AAA.

Nearly 90 percent of Washington-area travelers will be driving, which will make for the highest travel volume for the Fourth of July holiday since at least 2001, AAA said.

Since July 4 is a Saturday, most workers have Friday off as an official holiday. That means getaway traffic could start as early as Wednesday night.

Nationwide, AAA says 42 million people will be on the road or on an airplane, up one percent from last year. Nationwide, about 84.7 percent of travelers will drive, which is the highest level for the Independence Day holiday travel period since at least 2001.

“Remarkably, 2 in 10 persons living in the Washington metro area (or 17.2 percent of the area’s population of 5,860,342 people) will venture from home for the July Fourth holiday travel period,”  John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs, said in a statement.

“This marks the second time since at least 2001 that over one million Washington metro area residents will take a vacation during the Independence Day holiday period.”

Part of the increase in the number of travelers is due to gas prices, which remain well below levels from July of 2014 and the lowest in five years, AAA said.

In Virginia, the average price for regular unleaded gasoline has dropped slightly to $2.59 per gallon. Today’s price is eight cents higher than one month ago and remains significantly discounted from this time last year with drivers saving an average of 90 cents per gallon year-over-year.

Beltway traffic/file photo

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