BOSTON (CBS) — AAA expects the worst Thanksgiving traffic in nine years, but an update from the state could help ease the holiday jams. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation will pull its toll booth demolition crews earlier than expected on Wednesday.
State House News reports toll booth demolition across the Mass Pike will be suspended as of 5 a.m. on Wednesday in preparation for Thanksgiving travel. Originally, the state planned to keep crews at work until noon Wednesday.READ MORE: Police Searching Woods In Abington For Missing 5-Year-Old Elijah Lewis
The state switched to all electronic tolling on Oct. 28, beginning demolition of physical toll booths that night. Since then, crews have been at work removing toll plazas and diverting traffic around the construction.
Keeping crews off the job may help ease traffic Wednesday, which Google pegged as the worst day to hit the road for the Thanksgiving holiday. Still, MassDot Secretary Stephanie Pollack urged drivers to plan ahead.
“Thanksgiving travel has increased each year for the past several years,” Pollack said in a statement from Massport. “We’re pleased that this holiday many people may find their drive a little more efficient with the removal of I-90 toll booths or because they can get travel times from one of the many mobile apps available. But even so, the best advice is what everyone has always heard: try to travel at off peak hours, allow extra time to get to destinations, think about using mass transit for at least part of the trip, and check with airlines or MassDOT website tools to find out if there are delays or any other issues that could impact a particular route.”READ MORE: 'Plan For Alternatives': Toys May Be In Short Supply This Holiday Season
Free coffee will be available at 18 service plazas on Thanksgiving night from 10 p.m. through 5 a.m. the following day.
AAA projects 48.7 million people will trek more than 50 miles to sit around the Thanksgiving table, a 1.9 percent increase over last year. With gas prices hovering around $2 per gallon across the country, driving will be the preferred mode of transportation on Thursday. Only about 3.69 million people fly to their Thanksgiving destination, according to AAA.
Logan Airport, however, is prepared for holiday travelers, deploying extra staff starting Friday, Nov. 18 and ending the Monday after Thanksgiving. That 11-day period is one of the busiest travel times of the year, according to Massport.
Toll demolition work will resume Monday, Nov. 28, according to State House News.MORE NEWS: Lauren Astley's Father Works With Wayland Students To Raise Awareness About Teen Dating Violence