What to know if you’re driving around Boston this Memorial Day weekend

Hit the road early (or late), expect delays, and more tips if you're skipping town during the holiday stretch.

Inbound traffic on the Massachusetts Turnpike.
Inbound traffic on the Massachusetts Turnpike. –Aram Boghosian / The Boston Globe/File

Look out for the worst Memorial Day traffic on Monday evening when driving around Boston could take up to three times as long as usual, according to experts at AAA and the traffic app Waze.

Memorial Day traffic around Boston is expected to be at its worst between 3:45 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. on Monday, AAA and INRIX, a company that devises transportation analytics, said in a news release. Based on its 2018 Memorial Day data, Waze predicts 4 to 6 p.m. will be the busiest window, with an anticipated 14 to 18 percent drop in traffic speeds.

“Americans are eagerly anticipating the start of summer, and expensive gas prices won’t keep them home this Memorial Day weekend,” said Paula Twidale, vice president of AAA Travel. “Consumer spending remains strong, helped by solid job and income growth. Families continue to prioritize spending their disposable incomes on travel, and near-record numbers of them are looking forward to doing just that for Memorial Day.”


Overall, 43 million people nationally are expected to travel during the holiday weekend: 37.6 million by car, 3.25 million by plane, and 1.9 million via trains, buses, and cruise ships, AAA said in the release.

Travel delays are predicted to start Wednesday, according to Trevor Reed, a transportation analyst with INRIX.“Our advice to drivers is to avoid the morning and evening commuting times or plan alternate routes,” Reed said.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation will stop all roadwork by 5 a.m. on Friday; it will start up again after 11 p.m. Monday, spokesman Patrick Marvin said in an e-mail.

The high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane on I-93 will extend its afternoon hours on Thursday and will be open between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and it will be open between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Friday, Marvin said. The lane will be closed Monday.