‘Tis the season for traffic



Expect plenty of company on the roads over the next two weeks as the holiday travel season kicks into high gear.

Nationally, 94.5 million Americans are expected to hit the roads, the rails and the air this holiday, according to AAA. That’s an all time high and represents a half a percent increase over last year.  More than a million of those travelers are expected to pass through the First State this year.

Delawareans will make up nearly 257,000 of those traveling 50 miles or more away from home. The auto club calculates its holiday travel predictions from December 21 through January 1.

“The year-end travel period, which is generally the most traveled period of the year, is a day longer this year,” said AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Jim Lardear. “The modest upswing we’re expecting to see can be attributed to the ‘calendar effect.'”

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28 percent of Delawareans plan to travel for the holidays. Most of those, more than 234,000, will take trips by car, while more than 14,000 will travel by air. Warmer temperatures in the Mid-Atlantic region this weekend means those traveling regionally should be able to avoid weather related hassles that frustrated a number of travelers around Thanksgiving.

Road work takes a holiday, too

The Delaware Department of Transportation will suspend their planned lane closures on the state’s major roadways starting at midnight on Christmas Eve through Saturday, December 28. The lane closures will be lifted again at midnight on New Year’s Eve and resume on Friday, January 3.

DelDOT will have extra workers at the state’s three toll plazas in an effort to reduce congestion. They’ll also be monitoring more than 5,500 miles of state-maintained roads at the Transportation Management Center.

Last year, more than 114,000 cars passed through the Newark Toll Plaza on the Saturday before Christmas. Last holiday season, in the 13 days from December 21 through January 2, more than one million cars passed through that toll plaza.

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