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AAA predicts worst travel spots as 810,000 Coloradans hit the roads this Thanksgiving

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Posted at 4:11 AM, Nov 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-21 08:44:01-05

The Thanksgiving travel rush is on. AAA Colorado projects nearly 930,000 Coloradans will travel 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving, a 7 percent increase over last year.

The vast majority of travelers – 810,000 - will be driving to their destinations. To help with the congestion, The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) will suspend construction projects statewide at noon on Wednesday. Work will not resume until Monday, Nov. 26.

“We’re wishing all Coloradans a happy and safe Thanksgiving week,” said CDOT Executive Director Michael Lewis.  “Since a lot of people will be traveling the state’s roadways, we’ll be doing our part to reduce traffic impacts this week.”

Worst Travel Spots

In Colorado, per an INRIX analysis of historical data, AAA predicts these hotspots will be the worst for traffic throughout the Thanksgiving travel period:

  • Southbound I-25 at Greenland Road (Exit 167)
  • Northbound I-25 at 84th Avenue (Exit 219)
  • Southbound I-25 at US-285 (Exit 201)
  • Southbound CO-2 at I-25
  • Southbound I-25 at Spruce Mountain Road (Exit 173)
  • Northbound CO-121 at W. 64th Avenue
  • Eastbound I-70 at Havana Street (Exit 280)
  • Westbound CO-470 at Platte Canyon Road
  • Southbound I-225 at I-25 (Exit 1)
  • Northbound I-25 at Plum Creek Parkway (Exit 181)

CDOT expects the I-70 drive between Denver and Vail to be the heaviest. The heaviest travel days along westbound I-70 will be Wednesday, Nov. 22. Last year, 25,710 vehicles traveled westbound the day before Thanksgiving. Black Friday was a close second with 20,396 vehicles recorded.

On the reverse, the eastbound drive back to Denver will be busiest this weekend. Last year, Sunday was the busiest day with 25,844 vehicles. Saturday was right behind that with 25,844 vehicles.

Higher Gas Prices

AAA said Thanksgiving gas prices are the highest in four years, with a national average of $2.63 as of Nov. 18 – nine cents more than a year ago. In Colorado, the statewide average runs $2.73 for a gallon of regular, up 18 cents from this time last year. Motorists filling up in Vail will pay the most per gallon, at $3.20, while those passing through Colorado Springs will pay the least at $2.63.