Caution urged in holiday travel

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More than 40 million Americans will take to the roads this Thanksgiving holiday, and state transportation officials are asking motorists to exercise caution.

Spokesman Clay Ingram said AAA forecasts that 42.5 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the upcoming holiday weekend – a four percent increase from the 40.9 million people who traveled one year ago. This is the first significant increase in any holiday travel this year. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wed., Nov. 23, to Sun., Nov. 27.

“Driving AAA’s projected increase in the number of Thanksgiving travelers is pent-up demand from Americans who may have foregone holiday travel the last three years,” Ingram said. “As consumers weigh the fear of economic uncertainty and the desire to create lasting family memories this holiday, more Americans are expected to choose family and friends over frugality.”

Comparatively, Ingram said Memorial Day travel was statistically flat while Independence Day and Labor Day travel experienced decreases of 2.5 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.

Those who are traveling through Alabama during the three-day weekend will have to contend not only with holiday travelers, but also those heading to and from college football games.

On Monday, the Alabama Department of Transportation announced there would be no temporary lane closures on Alabama interstates after noon on Wednesday through midnight, Sunday.

For the safety of the traveling public, construction industry workers and maintenance crews, roadwork will be limited during this busy holiday period, ALDOT officials said.