Fourth of July travel crush expected

Cabs and shuttles arrive in the North Terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Monday, March 23, 2015.   Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Cabs and shuttles arrive in the North Terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Monday, March 23, 2015. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Rising household incomes and cheap gas prices are good things, right?

Unfortunately, not when it comes to making your Fourth of July plans. Those twin market forces have combined to make holiday weekend travel more popular, and hence more frustrating for many of us this year.

According to AAA’s annual travel forecast for the holiday weekend, nearly 42 million people are planning a trip between Wednesday and Sunday. That’s a 0.7 percent increase over last year, the most travelers since 2007.

Nearly 85 percent of those travelers (35.5 million) will drive. Fortunately, despite the usual summertime increases in the price of gas, drivers are still paying less at the pump than they have in recent years. In fact, most motorists will pay less for gas than they have in at least the past five years.

The national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.78. That is 88 cents less than the average price at this time last year, according to AAA.

Other modes of travel will also be more popular. Air travel is expected to increase 1.5 percent to 3.21 million leisure travelers; cruises, trains and buses will increase 0.5 percent to 3.2 million.

In order to smooth out the expected holiday weekend traffic kinks, the Georgia Department of Transportation is suspending construction-related lane closures on interstates and major highways from 5 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Monday, July 6.


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