Tens of thousands of Delawareans plan to travel this Thanksgiving weekend

Higher gas prices and economic uncertainty are not enough to keep tens of thousands of Delawareans from hitting the roads this Thanksgiving, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

The auto club’s survey indicates that nearly 117,000 Delawareans will travel 50 miles or more from home, an increase of 3.7% from last year. 

“Despite ongoing economic concerns, the recent decline in regional gas prices will help many travelers satisfy a growing pent-up demand for travel for the holiday season after three consecutive years of below-average travel volume,” AAA Mid-Atlantic Director of Public Affairs Jim Lardear.  “The increase in projected travel, both locally and nationwide, also represents the year’s first increase in holiday travel volume.” 

The busiest travel times are today (Wednesday) and Sunday afternoon and evening.  Although gas prices are higher than last Thanksgiving, they have dropped in the past two weeks after several weeks of increases.

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The Delaware Department of Transportation is doing all it can to make it an easier trip for Thanksgiving travelers.  Work at most active construction projects will stop by noon (Wednesday) and be suspended until Monday morning. 

This is also the first Thanksgiving that the expanded I-95 toll plaza near Newark will be in use.  It features seven cash-lanes as well as highway-speed lanes for EZ-Pass users.  Additional personnel will also be staffing toll plazas along Route One this weekend, while workers with the DelDOT Transportation Management Center will monitor traffic conditions. CLICK HERE for live traffic updates from DelDOT.

The busiest travel times are expected to be 2:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. today (Wednesday) and from noon until 6:00 p.m. Sunday.

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The Delaware Office of Highway Safety 13th annual Safe Family Holiday Campaign has been underway for several days.  The six-week enforcement campaign involves 29 law enforcement agencies statewide.  They will conduct more than 1,000 DUI patrols and be on the watch for aggressive driving and violations of Delaware’s seat belt and cellphone laws.  “Thanksgiving is the beginning of the holiday party season with family get-togethers and holiday work parties and as a result we tend to see an increase in crashes and injuries on our roadways,” OHS Director Jana Simpler said. 

As a reminder of the toll alcohol-related accidents in Delaware, the DUI Tree is being set up this week at Kent General Hospital in Dover, Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, A.I. DuPont Hospital in Wilmington and Beebe Medical Center in Lewes.  The trees include colored light bulbs that represent each person killed or injured in alcohol-related crashes during the holiday season.  

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