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Traveling for Memorial Day? Peak Traffic May be Thursday Evening

by Karen Goff — May 26, 2016 at 4:15 pm 0

I-66 traffic/ARLnow

If you are traveling for the Memorial Day weekend, you may want to stay put Thursday afternoon.

AAA Mid-Atlantic says nearly 966,000 D.C.-area residents will travel at least 50 miles for the holiday. And the heaviest congestion on area roads is predicted to occur Thursday afternoon between 5-6 p.m.

This is the highest travel estimate in the last 11 years, representing a nearly 2 percent increase over the 951,000 residents who traveled at this time last year, according to AAA.

“The great American road trip is back due to cheaper gas prices. We’re seeing this play out for Memorial Day, with a projected 869,600 people in the Washington metro planning to drive to their Memorial Day destinations,” AAA’s John Townsend said in a press release.

Gas prices this year are noticeably lower compared to previous years, with the national average at $2.29 a gallon, 45 cents cheaper than a year ago. Prices in the D.C. area are also down, averaging $2.28 a gallon, 41 cents cheaper.

Along with the roads, air travel is also expected to increase with a predicted number of 69,100 people expected to fly, a 1.7 percent increase from last year’s numbers.

Overall, AAA says more than 38 million Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend. That is the second-highest Memorial Day travel volume on record and the most since 2005. It’s about 700,000 more people than last year’s numbers.

AAA estimates that Americans have saved $18 billion on gas so far this year compared to the same period in 2015, and prices are at the lowest levels in 11 years.

Photo: Traffic on I-66/ARLnow.com file photo

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