The largest Thanksgiving holiday travel season in more than a dozen years is upon the region.
AAA is projecting 54.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving. In the Mid-Atlantic region, AAA said 6.5 million people will travel this season with 5.8 million of them traveling by vehicle.
The heaviest travel is expected Wednesday and Sunday, according to AAA.
PennDOT officials said traffic management employees have analyzed past holiday travel data and pinpointed locations and timeframes where congestion typically increases dramatically and are taking steps to reduce congestion. Their efforts have them partnering with police for “strategic enforcement of speed and impaired driving laws.”
Traffic management staff in the Philadelphia region have identified I-95 in Delaware County, I-76 ( the Schuylkill Expressway), Route 1 near the Neshaminy Mall in the Bensalem, and Route 202 and Route 422 near the King of Prussia Mall and the Philadelphia Premium Outlets as hot spots.
PennDOT said they will update their real-time 511PA page to track travel speeds and allow users to see historic travel information when deciding the best times to commute during the holiday weekend.
PennDOT plans to alert drivers to traffic conditions through highway advisory radio, Waze, electronic message signs, and the 511PA service.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission said the are anticipating 3.7 million cars and trucks will hit the statewide limited access toll highway between Tuesday and Sunday.
“Even though Pennsylvania has already experienced its first winter storm, it’s Thanksgiving that marks the official beginning of the winter holiday travel season,” Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission CEO Mark Compton said. “As we have already seen this week, hazardous and changing weather conditions can lead to a spike in auto accidents. When you factor in the additional traffic on the roadways during the week ahead, the risk is even higher. Driving safely and having a well-maintained vehicle is more important than ever this time of year.”
Officials have advised drivers who are traveling a long distance to take regular breaks to increase their level of alertness.