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Thanksgiving Weekend Travel Tips

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is urging residents to plan ahead for travel this weekend, and offers some tips to beat the worst of the holiday traffic.

Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, with the full peak setting in the afternoon on Wed., Nov. 23 and on Sun. Nov. 27.

The busiest traffic areas are on I-90, where Exit 9 connects the Mass. Pike with I-84 to New York and Connecticut. Heavy traffic congestion is also expected at the I-95, I-495 and I-93 exits heading north towards New Hampshire, according to The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). Additionally, an estimated 50,000+ drivers travel through the Ted Williams, Callahan and Sumner Tunnels on the day before Thanksgiving.

Because of these heavy traffic conditions, MassDOT is encouraging drivers to consider traveling in the early morning or after 8 p.m. on Wednesday instead of during the afternoon.

Helpful Tools
If you've got to travel, you've got to travel. One way to get an idea of what it looks like out there on the roads is MassDOT's network of 90 live traffic camerasposted throughout the state's highway system. The cameras refresh every 10 seconds to provide real time traffic views. 

The 511 traffic alert system will also include messages to alert customers to traffic advisories throughout the holiday weekend.

Additionally, MassDOT will be suspending all highway construction projects on major roadways across the state from 5 a.m. on Wednesday, November 23, through normal start of business on Monday, November 28. to help with traffic flow.

Perks
If you're one of the people who will be stuck in hours of traffic as you attempt to leave the area via Mass Pike, there is a tiny silver lining: Tolls for both eastbound and westbound drivers at the Allston/Brighton toll plazas (interchanges 18, 19 and 20) on the Massachusetts Turnpike will be free for drivers the evening before Thanksgiving, thanks to a partnership with Zappos.com, the online shoe store. Zappos.com will pay the tolls between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 23. Motorists with Fast Lane responders will also receive the benefit.

If you have to travel on Thanksgiving night, free coffee will be served at all 18 MassDOT service plazas courtesy of McDonalds, Burger King, and Gulf between 10 p.m. on Thursday, November 24, until 5 a.m. on Friday, November 25.

Possible Bad Weather on Wednesday
Although it doesn't look like snow or winter conditions for this weekend, theNational Weather Service is predicting heavy rain on Wednesday afternoon, which could impact the Thanksgiving commute.

In bad weather, motorists should drive with headlights on, observe posted speed limits, never drink and drive, make sure everyone is using a seatbelt and be on the lookout for changing weather conditions, according to MassDOT. Other safety precautions include obeying warning signs, keeping a safe distance between vehicles and using four-way flashers when stopped in traffic or traveling slowly.

MBTA Travel
To accommodate MBTA customers traveling to and from Logan Airport, the Silver, Red, Orange, Green, and Blue Lines will offer additional service during peak airport travel times before the holiday and continuing through Tuesday, November 29. The Silver Line stops at all Logan terminals.

The full MBTA Thanksgiving Holiday service schedule for Wednesday, November 23 through Tuesday, November 29 is available here.

Air Travel
For air travelers, Massport recommends passengers allow extra time to check in and get through security and to always check their airline flight status before leaving for the airport. Visit www.massport.com for updated flight arrival and departure information. 

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