LIMA — The Ohio AAA reports for the second year in a row the highest Thanksgiving travel numbers since 2005, with 4.3 million Americans including more than 2.2 million Ohioans planning to travel at least 50 miles from home.
This is a 4.8 percent increase over last year, both nationally and in Ohio.
More than 89 percent of travelers will drive to their holiday destinations, with 2.3 million more Americans, including nearly 90,000 more Ohioans, on the road this year.
With the extra traffic, the Ohio Department of Transportation will suspend roadwork and open as many lanes as possible. Drivers are advised to buckle up, never drive impaired and always follow traffic laws. Last year during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, there were 17 fatal crashes that killed 22 people on Ohio’s roadway, according to AAA. Five of those fatalities were the result on an impaired driver and 11 were unbuckled. Troopers will have an increased presence on Ohio’s roadways to promote a safe Thanksgiving holiday.
Drivers should also take time to prepare their vehicles before their holiday road trip. AAA expects to rescue more than 360,000 motorists nationwide this Thanksgiving, including more than 14,500 in Ohio. The top reason motorists will request roadside assistance include dead batteries, flat tire and lockouts.
The Ohio Department Transportation has provided information on road conditions. Rhonda Pees, Ohio Department of Transportation District 1 public information officer, said all of the ongoing road projects on Interstate 75 will not affect holiday travel.
There will be a ramp closure on U.S. 30 westbound to the state Route 115 exit ramp as well as the state Route 115 to U.S. 30 eastbound entrance ramp that will remain closed through the holiday, according to Pees.
Airports will also be busy over the holiday weekend with 4.27 million Americans, including nearly 185,000 Ohioans, flying. This marks an increase of 5.4 percent nationally and 6.3 percent in Ohio over last year and is the highest number of Thanksgiving air travelers since 2007 nationally and the highest number on record in Ohio.
John Franks, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Wilmington, provided a forecast for the next three days for Lima. Thanksgiving Day weather will feature a high of 44 degrees and low of 33, while Friday will have a high of 48 and low of 40 with a 60 percent chance of rain. The high Saturday is 50 with a low of 41.
“On Thanksgiving Day, Dayton is expected to be a degree or two warmer than Lima with a high of 47 degrees and an average low of 31,” Franks said.
According to GasBuddy.com, gas prices for Lima are currently under $3 a gallon.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.