EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Thanksgiving travel is expected to increase by about 2 percent compared to last year, according to the American Automotive Association (AAA).
AAA’s forecast is based on people traveling 50 miles or more, and it expects 4 million people will be traveling across the state of Texas, and 55 million across the nation.
Spokesperson for AAA Daniel Armbruster told KTSM that this will be the largest number of people traveling since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ambruster said 4.7 million Americans will be flying for Thanksgiving this year, marking an increase of 7 percent from last year. However, Armbruster explained how much busier the roads will be.
“When you look at how many people are actually driving here in Texas, 3.7 million of that 4 million. And then when we look at the United States, 49 million of that 55 million that are traveling will be driving. So almost 90 percent of those that will be traveling for Thanksgiving will do so by car,” he said.
Armbruster said several factors could be impacting road travel this year, namely lower gas prices and lower hotel and rental fares compared to last year.
He also advises drivers to have a trusted mechanic inspect their vehicle before traveling, to mitigate the risk of a roadside rescue.
KTSM spoke with Lauren Macias-Cervantes, public information officer for the Texas Department of Transportation El Paso District, said they will have limited closures on road projects beginning this Wednesday to accommodate increased road travel.
Regarding the I-10 Widening Project on the West Side, Macias-Cervantes describes how it will impact Thanksgiving road travel.
“If you’re traveling on I-10, specifically along that I-10 Widening Project, it is important to remember that though there won’t be any project closures per se because crews won’t be working during the holiday, there will be those long-term closures in place,” Macias-Cervantes said.
The busiest travel dates will be on Wednesday and Sunday, as travelers depart and arrive from the holiday travel, Macias-Cervantes said.
“So with the I-10 Widening West Project and any other construction project, it’s important to remember to plan ahead. So obviously people know that there’s construction on the West Side and this is one of the big projects. So plan some extra travel time, leave early, and know some alternate routes,” said Macias-Cervantes said.