There’s a good chance you’ll be among tens of millions of Americans who’ll take to the highways over Memorial Day weekend. As it happens every year, traffic will be brutal at times. Knowing exactly when those times occur can be the difference between getting to your destination quickly, or spending hours barely moving on a jam-packed interstate, which is not the way to kick off the unofficial start of summer.
“The highest gas prices since 2014 won’t keep travelers home this Memorial Day weekend,” said Bill Sutherland, the senior vice president of AAA Travel and Publishing. “A strong economy and growing consumer confidence are giving Americans all the motivation they need to kick off what we expect to be a busy summer travel season with a Memorial Day getaway.”
An estimated 41.5 million Americans will travel over Memorial Day weekend, according to AAA, with an estimated 36.6 million traveling by automobile. AAA says that number is up nearly 5 percent over last year, and it’s the most in more than a dozen years.
Given that this weekend will be a busy one, we rounded up what experts at AAA, MassDOT, and the traffic app Waze are saying about the traffic this holiday weekend.
AAA advises that the late afternoons on Thursday and Friday will be the busiest as daily commuters combine with holiday travelers to clog up many major highways.
In and around Boston, AAA predicts that Thursday between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. will be the single worst period of time to drive during the holiday stretch.
The region’s historically heaviest Memorial Day weekend traffic occurs Thursday, Friday, and Monday afternoons and early evenings, according to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
Additionally, MassDOT singled out Massachusetts Turnpike traffic, advising:
Traffic is especially heavy at the I-84 interchange at Exit 9 in Sturbridge on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend and at Exit 11A, I-495, which handles cars headed south to Cape Cod and north to New Hampshire and Maine.
The department will suspend construction work on major arterial roadways from noon on Friday, May 25, through the start of normal business on Tuesday, May 31.
Waze, the popular traffic and navigation app, analyzed data from last year’s holiday weekend to come up with its predictions for the absolute worst times to drive in the region this holiday weekend. The predictions are as follows:
Friday, May 2, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday, May 26, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Sunday, May 27, from noon to 2 p.m.
Monday, May 28, from noon to 2 p.m.
Tuesday, May 29, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
How to stay informed:
There are many ways to keep on top of the the latest traffic information. Here are a few:
Call: Dial 511 to listen to traffic information.
Radio: You can keep it old-school and tune your car’s AM radio to WBZ 1030 to hear regular traffic updates.