A long Fourth of July week means heavy traffic in Philly and beyond

Millions are hitting the roads in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, which will likely cause traffic delays over the next several days.

Morning traffic moves along Interstate 76 in Philadelphia

File photo: Morning traffic moves along Interstate 76 in Philadelphia, Monday, March 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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The Fourth of July weekend seems to be stretching out much longer this year because the holiday falls in the middle of a week.

Since the Fourth falls on a Thursday, AAA Mid Atlantic’s Jana Tidwell said the holiday period stretches nine days this year. She said it will likely be a record breaker as people take a break from day-to-day life.

“We anticipate over 972,000 Philadelphia-area residents will travel for the July Fourth holiday. In New Jersey, over two million New Jerseyans will be traveling, and in Delaware, over 204,000 Delawareans will be traveling. Those numbers are all up more than 5% year over year.”

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Tidwell believes about 80% of those travelers will hit the roads, which will cause major delays on the highways.

‘We anticipate that the busiest travel days for the roadways will be Tuesday, July 2nd and Wednesday, July 3rd, in the afternoon and early evening. The reason being that’s when we anticipate commuters will mix with holiday travelers and we could see traffic build to more than double what we typically see during those times.”

The majority of people are taking to the highways, said Tidwell.

“Road trips will rule in terms of how people will get to their destination … That means that we will see and feel the added congestion to our roadways.”

With many people traveling out of the region, AAA recommends that you have a summer safety kit ready just in case you have a breakdown.

Tidwell said that kit should contain the following:

  • Jumper cables
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight with good batteries.
  • An external charging source for your cell phone.

When traveling during the summer months, Tidwell said drivers should travel with plenty of water, non-perishable snack foods, a blanket and beach towels (useful if you need to sit up off to the side of the road).

Tidwell said the higher traffic volumes would begin as soon as Friday, June 28, with some people combining this weekend and next for a nine-day vacation.

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