Thanksgiving travelers took advantage of good weather to start their holiday journeys today, and major highways saw slowdowns in traditional bottlenecks around Boston and the state, officials said this afternoon.
"We really don’t have any significant accidents to report,'' State police Sergeant Matthew Murray said this afternoon. "We are seeing heavy, heavy volume on the roads. There is heavy traffic everywhere one would expect it to be.''
Congestion on the Southeast Expressway, Interstate 93 and inside the tunnels dropped to below 20 miles an hour at around 2:45 p.m., according to real-time traffic information from sigalert.com.
Traffic also backed up for several miles on the Mass. Pike near the I-95 interchange due to an accident, and choked up farther west as travelers tried reach the I-84 interchange in Sturbridge.
Massport spokesman Phil Orlandella said this afternoon that weather issues caused some cancellations in the Washington D.C. and New York City areas, but did not lead to any delays at Logan. The National Weather Service issued wind advisories for the region earlier in the day, warning that air travel could potentially be impacted.
Orlandella also said there was no sign at Logan that a significant number of people protested the controversial search practices begun by the Transportation Security Administration.
Nationally, the AAA predicts 42.2 million people will travel 50 or more miles from their homes this Thanksgiving weekend, and that 94 percent of them would be on the highways, a historic level. The AAA projects an 11 percent increase in the number of travelers when compared to last year.
In New England, AAA says, the overall number of travelers is up by 11.4 percent over last year. Highway travel is predicted to increase by 12.1 percent – and at least 12 percent of the entire six state region will be moving around this holiday.
“While Americans remain cautious with household budgets and discretionary spending amidst high levels of unemployment, many are in a better financial position this Thanksgiving than a year ago,” Lloyd P. Albert, AAA spokesman for Southern New England said in a statement. "This improvement, along with a strong desire to spend time with friends and family, is expected to propel a significant increase in Thanksgiving travel.”
State transportation officials urged people to wait until after 8 tonight to chance the Mass. Pike and other major highways around the state.
The state has posted traffic cameras at major intersections around the state, which can be accessed here. Travelers can also dial 511 on on their cell phones for updated traffic conditions.
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