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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 Wednesday, Nov. 21 and on Sunday, Nov. 25.

An estimated 50,000 drivers will travel through the Ted Williams, Callahan and Sumner Tunnels on the day before Thanksgiving, and one toll booth on the Mass Pike alone will see more than 100,000 cars, according to The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).  

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 MassDOT.

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 cameras posted 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.

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 between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Wednesday thanks to a partnership with Plymouth Rock Assurance. Motorists with Fast Lane responders will also receive the benefit.

Additionally, MassDOT will be suspending all highway construction projects on major roadways across the state from 5 a.m. on Wednesday, November 21, through normal start of business on Monday, November 26 to help with traffic flow.

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 Thanksgiving night, Thursday, November 22, until 5 a.m. on Friday, November 23.

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. However, travel on the MBTA on Thanksgiving Day will be on a Sunday schedule. 

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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