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More than 1 million Wisconsinites traveling this Thanksgiving

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Airports and highways are expected to be busy in the days around Thanksgiving this year as AAA expects travel to nearly meet or exceed pre-pandemic levels.

Nearly 1 million people in Wisconsin are expected to travel by car over the next several days for the Thanksgiving holiday according to AAA.

That’s about 89 percent of all Thanksgiving travelers, and that’s even with the higher prices for gas.

The average cost for a gallon of gas in Wisconsin is $3.33.

It’s a bit higher for some Northwoods counties like Oneida, Langlade, and Lincoln where gas is around $3.50 a gallon.

According to GasBuddy, those prices have been dropping and are down about 30 cents from last month, but still up about 20 cents from this time last year.

The busiest days for traveling will be Wednesday and Sunday.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is asking drivers to plan ahead and eliminate distractions.

“Whether you are traveling near or far this holiday weekend, please buckle up, drive sober, watch out for deer and follow posted speed limits,” WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson said in a statement. “Those responsible decisions can prevent crashes and help ensure a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving for everyone.”

There are also several major road construction projects that could impact drive time if you’re headed south for the holiday.

  • Columbia County: Construction is underway at the I-39/90/94 and WIS 60 interchange near Arlington and Lodi. I-39/90/94 remains open to three lanes in each direction.
  • Juneau County: I-90/94 is open to two lanes in each direction on temporary roadway and bridge structures at the WIS 82 interchange in Mauston.
  • Milwaukee and Ozaukee counties: Work is ongoing on I-43 between Capitol Drive and WIS 60. Motorists can expect lane closures and speed limit reductions in certain segments. The ramps at Hampton Avenue and County Line Road remain closed.
  • Milwaukee County: Motorists will encounter a traffic shift on I-41/US 45 (Zoo Interchange North Leg Project) between Watertown Plank Road and North Avenue. Exit ramps at North Avenue and Mayfair Road remain closed. Holiday shopping traffic is encouraged to access Mayfair Road from either Burleigh Street or Watertown Plank Road.
  • Portage County: US 10/WIS 66 is reduced to a single lane in each direction at I-39. The I-39 northbound exit ramp to US 10 east is closed and detoured via I-39 and WIS 66/Stanley Street. The I-39 southbound to westbound WIS 66 turn lane is closed and detoured via I-39 and County HH. The westbound US 10 to I-39 southbound left turn lane is closed and detoured via I-39 and WIS 66/Stanley Street. The eastbound US 10/WIS 66 to I-39 northbound left turn lane is closed and detoured via I-39 and County HH.

There is a 511 Wisconsin smartphone app you can download to stay up to date on travel conditions, work zones, and crashes. You can also visit the 511 Wisconsin website.

Air Travel will also be popular this Thanksgiving.

AAA says Air Travel from Wisconsin will exceed pre-pandemic levels and set of new record high this year.

And just like gas for drivers, fliers are paying more this year.

Airfares cost about 22% more than last year.

Hotels are also up about 17%.

Overall, AAA predicts more than 54-million American will travel 50 miles or more for Thanksgiving this year.