Millions to get their motor runnin' for holiday weekend
More than 41 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more during Independence Day weekend, a nearly 2 percent increase over last year, AAA officials said.
Mike Murray, of Los Angeles, is one of them. He and his family flew into Pittsburgh to visit his wife's family this week and will be heading to Ripley, N.Y., on the shores of Lake Erie for the weekend.
“We'll just enjoy the time we're here,” said Murray, 55, who noted his family doesn't typically travel for the holiday weekend.
Last year, about 40.3 million traveled during the July 4 holiday. Nearly eight in 10 travelers will travel by automobile, the highest level since 2007, AAA officials said. Air traffic is expected to increase 1 percent to 3.1 million travelers.
“The Fourth of July holiday is typically the busiest summer travel holiday with 5 million more Americans traveling compared to the Memorial Day weekend,” said AAA East Central President Jim Lehman.
Still, most Americans, such as Adam Locke of Bridgeville won't venture that far. He's going to the Big Butler Fair on Friday.
“My friend mentioned that this is the place to go and I guess there's some fireworks after, which are a staple for the Fourth,” Locke, 39, said. “You got to see some fireworks.”
Many drivers in Pennsylvania will use the turnpike as families head to the coast for vacation. The turnpike estimates that 2.7 million vehicles will use the toll road during the weekend, up from 2.5 million last year. Maintenance crews prepared for the traffic by opening all available lanes through 6 a.m. July 7. As the holiday surge approaches, so will state police patrols.
“Texting while driving and aggressive driving will not be tolerated, so motorists should expect to see our troopers out there in full force,” said Capt. Gregory Bacher, whose unit is in charge of turnpike patrols.
DUI patrols also will ramp up. Last year, there were 256 alcohol-related crashes resulting in 11 fatalities from June 30 to July 9. That marked a decrease from 2012, when there were 355 alcohol-related crashes and 20 fatalities, PennDOT officials said.
Gas won't be cheap. Prices rose about 3 cents this week for an average Western Pennsylvania price of $3.86 per gallon, AAA reported. That's up from an average of $3.51 for the holiday last year. The national average is $3.67 per gallon. Compared with previous Independence Day holidays, the national average is the highest since 2008.
Staff writer Megan Henney contributed to this report. Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or bkerlik tribweb.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Trac Fabrication all-terrain wheelchairs open world for disabled
- Family of Children’s Hospital transplant baby urges feds to change cochlear implants policy
- Amusement ride website leaves readers hanging
- Trial near for Shaler man paralyzed in Pittsburgh police shooting
- Scientists dismiss dire outlook for Western Pennsylvania winter weather
- Toll road system traces roots to Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania Turnpike
- Heavy rain prompts flood advisory for Allegheny, Westmoreland counties
- White House threat sparks call for wider immigration debate
- Carnegie Mellon grad’s tweak to tweets turns 7
- Penn Hills schools’ transit director resigns
- I-79 resurfacing project to begin in Marshall Tuesday evening