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Tips for avoiding heavy lake-bound traffic Memorial Day weekend

If you're traveling this Memorial Day weekend, here are the best and worst times to hit the road.

ST. LOUIS — If you're planning to leave town this Memorial Day weekend, make sure to leave before 1 p.m. Friday if you can manage it, 2 p.m. at the latest. 

Each Friday afternoon commute before Memorial Day is slow, slow, slow on St. Louis' major highways – especially westbound Interstate 70 towards Warrenton, Interstate 44 westbound at Interstate 270 and all the way towards Gray Summit. Lake of the Ozarks-bound folks flood those roads with festive thoughts dancing in their heads. 

Before holiday fun can begin, travelers spend much time sitting on the highway. Normally, these are volume-caused delays, even without an accident. If accidents go down at the time or someone runs out of gas, we’re talking interstate parking lot-type stuff – specifically on I-70 coming out of St. Charles.

So, leaving as early as possible Friday is critical for you and your travel mates to avoid bumper-to-bumper traffic. Send this text to your people: “Can you guys get ready to go earlier than later? 5 On Your Side’s Paul Cook has me nervous about starting this holiday with a buzzkill on the roads.”

Some officials are predicting the most travelers since 2020, but others are saying it will be the biggest in 15 to 20 years! Bookings for Amtrak are up 70%, with increases on buses and at the airport, too. Be aware of roads around those locations.

Now, how about coming home from the big holiday weekend? Enjoy the fullness of your weekend because INRIX, which provides transportation data and insights, suggests avoiding returning home from noon to 3 p.m. Monday and 4-6 p.m. Tuesday. Those will be the most congested times.

Good luck on the roadways and have fun this weekend! Be sure to pay your respects to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

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