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High volume, but no big accidents on highways

At South Station, Ariel Chambers and her mother, Ann Marie Chambers of New York City, waited to meet a family member. At South Station, Ariel Chambers and her mother, Ann Marie Chambers of New York City, waited to meet a family member. (Wendy Maeda/ Globe Staff)
By Travis Andersen and Jeff Fish
Globe Staff | Globe Correspondent / November 25, 2010

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Thanksgiving travelers took advantage of good weather to start their holiday journeys yesterday, and major highways saw slowdowns in traditional bottlenecks around Boston and the state, officials said.

“We really don’t have any significant accidents to report,’’ State Police Sergeant Matthew Murray said yesterday afternoon. “We are seeing heavy, heavy volume on the roads. There is heavy traffic everywhere one would expect it to be.’’

A second State Police spokesman said no serious accidents had been reported by about 10.

Congestion on the Southeast Expressway, Interstate 93, and inside the tunnels dropped to below 20 miles per hour at around 2:45 p.m., according to real-time data from the website sigalert.com, which tracks traffic patterns across the country.

Traffic also backed up for several miles on the Massachusetts Turnpike near the Interstate 95 interchange due to an accident and choked up farther west as travelers tried to reach the Interstate 84 interchange in Sturbridge, the website reported.

An accident on I-93 south between I-90 and the Braintree split slowed traffic to 10 miles per hour at about 8:30 p.m., according to a state Department of Transportation hotline. The DOT said the left lane of the highway in that area was closed.

About an hour later, the DOT reported heavy congestion on I-93 north between the Braintree split and I-90 because of an accident in Milton before Exit 10. There was congestion on Interstate 495 in Chelmsford at about 10 p.m. because of an accident, the DOT said.

Also last night, a large number of people bound for New York on the Megabus line were stranded for hours at South Station, passengers said.

Sandra Brown, of Lexington, told a Globe reporter at the terminal shortly before midnight that she had been waiting for a bus since 7:30 p.m. and buses had been dropping riders off without picking up anyone.

Edward Hodgson, director of operations at Megabus, said some passengers were not able to board the 7 p.m. bus and were booked on the 9:30 bus, which was delayed about 30 minutes. He believed a bus had left as scheduled just before midnight.

AAA predicts that highway travel across New England will increase by 12.1 percent during the Thanksgiving weekend and that at least 12 percent of the people in the six-state region will be traveling this holiday.

Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com; Jeff Fish at jfish@globe.com. Globe correspondent Jason Woods contributed to this report.