The American Automobile Association said Thursday is the start of the Memorial Day travel weekend and millions of people nationwide will be hitting the roads.
In the Lackawanna County area, there has been seemingly constant roadwork and long traffic delays, but PennDOT said crews have been working hard to complete roadwork projects before the holiday weekend. For the most part, major interstates will be smooth sailing.
AAA estimates nearly 40,000 people in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area will be traveling for the Memorial Day weekend, most of them driving to their destinations.
For weeks, drivers along parts of Interstate 81 in the Scranton and Wilkes-Barre areas have dealt with traffic backups, at times miles long, due to many on-going road projects.
PennDOT said for Memorial Day weekend, there should not be much construction congestion for many of the nearly 35,000 people in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties estimated to hit the road.
“I think that’s real good news, give everybody a break including the workers. Normally there’d be regular congestion anyway with the holiday traffic and we don’t need any additional construction tie-ups as well, so that’s good news,” said Bill Roman of Dunmore.
PennDOT said other than line painting from 9 a.m. to noon Friday, there should be no construction or lane restrictions this weekend for the cemetery bridge project along Interstate 81 in Scranton.
That is good news for drivers who said traffic can be a nightmare.
“This area, usually in the afternoon, it’s backed up for miles. It’s very inconvenient. I found myself going down Route 11 a lot, trying to get around it. It’s a nuisance,” said David Gaul of Clarks Summit.
On Interstate 80 near Berwick, bridge work has often led to long delays, but PennDOT said all four lanes are open and should be smooth sailing for drivers.
Some drivers have a plan to avoid traffic, just in case.
“We’re traveling tonight to Rochester to avoid some of the traffic and things, and we’re traveling Saturday. The wedding’s actually Sunday, so we’re traveling Saturday to avoid that,” said Daphne Yeick of Catawissa.
“I have a GPS on my phone so that’s what I would do, to use it and see for any side roads that I could use,” added Teri Potter of Catawissa.
PennDOT said while crews make every effort to cut down on lane restrictions during holiday weekends, traffic could be an issue along Interstate 81 in Schuylkill County.
I-81 will be down to one lane in each direction between the Hometown/Mahanoy City and St. Clair/Frackville exits.
With gas prices also going down, this Memorial Day weekend some braving the roads have a few other requests.
“I’m hoping for good weather and smooth traveling,” said Roman.
PennDOT reminds drivers to be aware of aggressive driving and make sure to give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.
Drivers can also take advantage of the safety breaks, with coffee and more, starting Friday at rest areas and welcome centers along the interstates.
For more info on traffic on area roads, you can visit www.511PA.com or just dial 511 on your cell phone.