Thanksgiving holiday travelers asked to plan ahead, eliminate distractions

Thanksgiving Travel
Thanksgiving Travel(MGN)
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 11:34 AM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - If you’re traveling this week to celebrate Thanksgiving, you won’t be alone.

This year, AAA predicts 54.6 million people will travel for Thanksgiving – it’s expected to be the third busiest for Thanksgiving travel since AAA started tracking in 2000.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is encouraging Thanksgiving holiday travelers to plan ahead for heavy traffic along key travel corridors. Peak travel periods are anticipated between noon and 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23 and again on Sunday, Nov. 27.

“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. “Those responsible decisions can prevent crashes and help ensure a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving for everyone.”

Construction is wrapping up for the season on many Wisconsin highways, but motorists are advised to slow down, put their phone down and drive with caution in the remaining work zones.

Highway projects that may impact travelers include:

  • 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.

AAA reports, most travelers will drive to their destinations, much like last year. Nearly 49 million people are expected to travel by car. While Thanksgiving road trips have slightly risen – up 0.4% from 2021 – car travel remains 2.5% below 2019 levels.