• Wed. Oct 20th, 2021

Labor Day weekend travel guide: what you need to know

ByKeith M. Jones

Sep 2, 2021

Pennsylvania roads can be a bit wet after Wednesday’s rain, as Ida’s remains spilled onto the east coast.

But that probably won’t stop people from hitting the road for Labor Day weekend, traditionally considered the unofficial end of summer and one of the busiest travel weekends in the world. ‘year.

American Automobile Association said there has been a steady increase in volume since stay-at-home orders were lifted last year and increased demand for travel has steadily pushed up prices. AAA said an expected increase in gas prices over the weekend shouldn’t deter anyone’s travel plans.

Gas prices

The average price of gas in Pennsylvania held steady last month, but rose a dime to $ 3.28 on Wednesday as the remnants of Hurricane Ida made their presence felt statewide. The storm left more than a million people in Louisiana and Mississippi without power on Wednesday and likely took about 13% of U.S. refining capacity offline, according to AAA. There were nine oil refineries on the way to Ida, and at least four oil refineries were said to have ceased operations before the storm, according to the association.

“Until power is restored, it is too early to know the full impact of any damage caused by Ida on the oil and gas industry, but motorists at the regional level can expect price fluctuations. leading up to Labor Day weekend, ”said Doni Lee Spiegel, AAA spokesperson. . Typically, a Category 4 storm could mean more than three weeks before refineries resume normal operations, while offshore production is more likely to resume this week.

The national average gas price on Wednesday was $ 3.17, according to AAA. In the Harrisburg area, the average price was $ 3.22.

To put that into perspective, the average price of gasoline a year ago was around $ 2.50 in the Harrisburg area. However, the $ 3.22 per gallon for regular gasoline is well below the record regional average of $ 4.03 on July 9, 2008.

The I-83 South Bridge crossing the Susquehanna River on February 26, 2021. Jimmie Brown | [email protected]

pennsylvania roads

If you are traveling during the holiday weekend, you should not encounter any road works. There is no construction work for the holiday weekend on major state roads, according to Fritzi Schreffler, spokesperson for PennDot. PennDOT always encourages people to use caution while driving in construction areas simply because drivers will always see changes in traffic patterns. Schreffler doesn’t think the rest areas will be closed over the weekend.

On the Pennsylvania toll highway, authorities predict that more than 2.7 million people will use the toll highway between September 2 and September 7. This is a 5.6% drop in vacation traffic over the same travel period in 2019.

The toll highway will suspend maintenance and construction work and open all available lanes in each direction from Thursday at 3 p.m. to Monday at 11 p.m.

All service places will be open, although customers may find limited concepts open at each place due to personnel issues.

If you haven’t been on the toll highway in a while, you might notice a big change. The Pennsylvania Turnpike is now a fully electronic toll system. If you don’t have an E-ZPass, the highway will take a picture of your license plate. Customers who previously used cash to pay their tolls will now receive an invoice in the mail. Drive through the toll plaza but still obey the 15 mph speed limit.

Friday is expected to be the busiest day for traffic on the toll motorway. AAA said peak travel time is expected when commuters return home and meet travelers in congested Pennsylvania corridors on Friday afternoon.

Harrisburg International Airport

Travelers collect their luggage after arriving at HIA, Harrisburg International Airport. March 25, 2021. Dan Gleiter | [email protected]

Flying

Harrisburg International Airport in Lower Swatara Township could see around 14,700 passengers entering and exiting the airport between Thursday and Monday, officials said. That’s roughly the same number of travelers the airport saw during Memorial Day. And while Labor Day weekend is expected to be 72% busier than last year, it is only expected to be about 79% as busy as Labor Day 2019 – the busiest year in the world. airport ever.

So where do people fly out of HIA?

Florida is still the most popular – Orlando, Ft. Myers and the Tampa Bay / Sarasota area, according to Scott Miller, spokesperson for HIA.

Six of the 15 direct flights from HIA are in Sunshine State.

The Penn State opening on Saturday could help increase traffic in and out of HIA. The Nittany Lions open the road season against the Wisconsin Badgers.

“We might see traffic going into Madison for the Penn State game in Wisconsin on Saturday,” Miller said.

Time

On Labor Day weekend, the weather in the Harrisburg area will likely be 360 ​​from the continued rain on Wednesday and it shouldn’t be too hot either.

It is expected to be sunny with a high of near 74 on Friday and sunny with a high of near 77 on Saturday. On Sunday, the Harrisburg area could see rain showers after 2 p.m. and again before 8 p.m. On Labor Day, the maximum will be close to 80.

Travel tips

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers several travel recommendations.

  • The CDC recommends delaying the trip until you are able to get your full vaccine. If you are traveling with children who cannot be vaccinated at the moment, follow the recommendations for people who are not fully vaccinated.
  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth in public. It is mandatory to wear a nose and mouth mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation to, within or outside the United States and to the United States. inside American transportation hubs such as airports and train stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in exterior areas of a conveyance (such as on the open decks of a ferry or the uncovered upper deck of a bus).
  • Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet (approximately 2 arm’s lengths) from anyone who is not traveling with you.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.
  • Children between the ages of 2 and 12 should wear a mask in public areas and around people they do not live with.
  • Avoid the crowds
  • The safest way to travel at this time is to take short car trips with members of your household or fully vaccinated people with a few stops along the way and do not recommend long distance travel by train or bus and traveling on a cruise ship or riverboat.
  • The safest place to stay is in a house or cabin with people in your household or people who have been fully vaccinated
  • Avoid sharing spaces with many people or sharing bathrooms (for example, a dormitory-style hostel).
  • The safest way to eat while traveling is to bring your own food and drinks; get take out or use drive-thru, delivery and curbside pickup options.
  • Avoid eating inside poorly ventilated restaurants, where social distancing is not possible, waiters and staff do not wear masks, and diners do not wear masks when not eating or drinking actively and in self-service options that require extensive touching of surfaces, such as buffet style.

AAA Tips

  • Travel with all necessary travel documents, including health insurance cards.
  • Plan your trip using AAA’s TripTik to determine if any rest stops are open along your route. It varies from state to state. Gas stations, which are essential businesses, may be your best option for restrooms.
  • Consider that fast food restaurants and dining halls may be closed, although drive-thru and take out or eating out may be an option.
  • Make sure your vehicle is ready for a road trip.
  • Pack snacks, water and cleaning supplies – not only for the trip, but also for your final destination. This will help reduce the number of trips to stores.
  • Find the best gas price using the AAA app.
  • Drivers should travel at times when they are normally awake; rest before hitting the road; schedule a break every two hours or every 100 miles; avoid heavy foods; travel with an alert passenger and take turns driving; and avoid medicines that cause drowsiness or other problems
  • If you are traveling locally, it is suggested to avoid highways and busy highways if possible. Adding a few miles to your trip could get you there faster and more safely.
  • Understand the impact of COVID-19 on the cities and states you pass through or travel to and whether restrictions are in place.

Resources:

  • Driving on the Pennsylvania Toll Freeway? Find the locations of the service places as well as the restaurants and shops open in the square. https://www.paturpike.com/travel/service_plazas.aspx.
  • You can get information about the toll highway and also calculate the cost of the trip.
  • For travel information, including the AAA’s COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map, you can visit: TripTik.AAA.com.
  • If you take the train this weekend, you can find relevant information from Amtrak.
  • Flying in HIA? Here is the latest information on arrivals and departures.
  • For the latest road conditions, accidents and construction in Pennsylvania, visit 511PA.com.
  • And as always for the latest breaking news, tag PennLive.com and visit it regularly.

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