Significant uptick in travelers expected for Memorial Day weekend

Published: May. 26, 2023 at 8:48 AM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - AAA predicts more than 40 million people will travel this weekend for the holiday, including our viewers heading out to the lakes.

It always has been and always will be a busy weekend to travel across the states, and that sentiment is true here in Kansas and Missouri.

Those hitting the road need to be a bit patient as around 37 million people will drive to their destinations, which is a 6% increase from last year, according to AAA.

AAA predicts 42.3 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home this Memorial Day weekend, driving and/or flying, which is a 7% increase from last year.

Gas prices are lower this holiday compared to last year when the national average was more than $4 a gallon. One gas station on I-49 near Grandview’s Main Street had gas at $3.29 Friday morning. Despite that, AAA said car travel will be shy of pre-pandemic numbers by about 500,000 travelers.

INRIX, a provider of transportation data and insights for AAA, expects Friday to be the busiest day on the roads. They say the best time to travel is in the morning or after 6 p.m. Friday, with minimal traffic impact expected for Saturday and Sunday.

The best times to return from your trip are Monday before 10 a.m. and Tuesday before 2 p.m. or after 6 p.m.

Drivers need to keep their eyes on the road at all times as construction projects could slow you down or cause busier roads than already predicted.

If you are heading to the Lake of the Ozarks, for instance, heading down I-49, two projects are happening Friday on Route 7 between Harrisonville and Clinton.

The MoDot Traveler Map shows two icons indicating where to expect delays and that work will be going until around noon so be on the lookout for people working on the roads, orange cones, flashing lights, and other safety warnings.

A little down the way on Route 7 is the second project surrounding pavement stripping both north and southbound.

In Kansas, there’s construction going on I-70 leading travelers towards Lake Perry. KanDrive’s website said to expect delays as US-24 is reduced to just one lane of traffic across the Delaware Bridge just west of Perry. There is construction for a new bridge so traffic should expect at least a 15-minute delay there.

READ MORE: Pack your patience this holiday weekend