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Holiday travelers brace for crowds, expect more law enforcement

Posted at 6:28 PM, Jul 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-03 11:52:57-04

A record number of people are expected to travel for the Fourth of July this week.

AAA forecasted 48.9 million Americans will travel with 41 million of them driving. In Wisconsin, they predict 1.1 million holiday travelers with 936,155 driving.

Average gas prices in Wisconsin and nationally are around $2.70. Last year around the same time gas prices hovered around $2.82, according to tracker Gas Buddy.

Whether drivers are hitting the roads for a getaway or work, travel experts said the most congestion on the interstates nationally will be Wednesday afternoon. Locally, the worst time to travel is in the afternoon July 5 around the Chicago area.

With more cars on the road, AAA expects more car crashes and breakdowns.

"Be careful out there no one wants their holiday trip to be marred by a crash or an injury or worse so be careful be safe be patient," said Nick Jarmusz, Director of Public Affairs for AAA.

In light of the holiday travel and recent crashes that forced I-94 to shut down for several hours, Wisconsin Department of Transportation is working with local law enforcement to beef up patrols along the I-94 work zone.

"To help slow down traffic, help clear any incidents that may occur, and also try to watch for things like inattentive driving or tailgating," said Michael Pyritz, Regional Communication Manager for Wisconsin Department of Transportation's Southeast Region.

Pyritz said the saturation was already underway and will continue through the weekend. He added starting at noon on Wednesday there will be work restrictions on construction zones until Monday morning.

Trucks are advised to stay in the left lane throughout the work zone, which may be different than what drivers are used to. DOT also add more speed boards in the corridor to show how fast drivers are moving.

"We’re doing everything we can. We need everybody who’s watching this to do the same," said Pyritz.

DOT expects traffic in the Milwaukee area to be at its peak Sunday evening. You can use 511 to stay up to date on traffic and construction zones.