Expect more holiday traffic due to gas prices

Published 11:19 am Friday, May 27, 2016

AAA Carolinas projects an estimated 1,051,000 North Carolina and 485,400 South Carolina motorists will travel this Memorial Day weekend, the highest Memorial Day travel volume on record.

Spurred by the lowest gas prices in more than a decade, about 31,605 more Carolinians will travel compared to last year. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday to Monday.

“Carolinians are eagerly awaiting the start of summer and are ready to travel thanks to the lowest Memorial Day gas prices in a decade,” said Dave Parsons, AAA Carolinas president and CEO, “We urge drivers to stay safe on the roadways this weekend and to always remember to disconnect and drive.”

Nearly 1,540,000 Carolinians will drive to their Memorial Day destinations, an increase of 2.1 percent over last year as a result of lower gas prices. Top driving destinations include Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Denver, Colo., Orlando, Fla., and Savannah, Ga.

Hotel costs are in line with last Memorial Day. AAA Three Diamond Rated hotels will average $183, while a AAA Two Diamond Rated hotel will average $151 nightly. Daily car rental rates will average $62, 3 percent less than last year.

The average price for a gallon of gasoline today is $2.21 in North Carolina, 37 cents less than last year and $2.05 in South Carolina, 37 cents less than last year. According to a recent AAA survey, 55 percent of Americans say they are more likely to take a road trip this year due to lower gas prices.

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the “100 deadliest days” for teen drivers, with seven of the 10 most deadly days occurring between Memorial Day and Labor Day, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Last year, 12 North Carolina motorists and eight South Carolina motorists died on the roads during the Memorial Day holiday.

For the latest on construction delays, go to the North Carolina Department of Transportation website, www.NCDOT.gov. Click on Travel & Maps and then on the Traveler Information Management System for up-to-date traffic information related to closed travel lanes, accidents or expected congestion due to sporting events, such as Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Coca-Cola 600 race this weekend.

NCDOT will put on hold most construction projects along interstate, N.C. and U.S. routes now until midnight, Monday, with these exceptions:

  • N.C. 42 will have a signed detour, road closure and bridge replacement east and west of Ahoskie Creek in Hertford County;
  • N.C. 94 will have a road closure and bridge construction on Elementary School Road at U.S. 64 in Tyrrell County;
  • U.S. 158 will have two-lane two-way traffic on the Pasquotank River Bridge in Pasquotank County;
  • I-40 will have traffic in a three-lane pattern in each direction over an 8.5-mile section through Raleigh;
  • I-85 North has a pair of five-mile sections closed between Henderson and the Virginia state line, with all north and southbound traffic in a two-lane, two-way pattern in the southbound lanes in those areas;
  • U.S. 23/74 will have a bridge replacement in Jackson County; and
  • N.C. 294 will have portable traffic signals in Cherokee County.
  • U.S. 70 will have a lane closed over the Trent River Bridge in New Bern due to the rehabilitation of the bridge deck.

South Carolina will suspend construction projects along interstates and high volume multi-lane primary routes throughout the holiday weekend.