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Thanksgiving holiday travel: what you can expect

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 7:33 PM MST|Updated: Nov. 24, 2021 at 8:40 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - With the holidays comes holiday travel. Whether it’s by car or by plane, travelers can expect to see a difference in congestion.

Sources say the day before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day around this holiday for motorists. But for residents around Western Colorado, traffic trends work out in our favor. On I-70, travelers aren’t expected to see much traffic headed east Thursday or Friday.

“Today’s generally the busiest travel day prior to Thanksgiving Day,” said CDOT Statewide Communications Manager Bob Wilson. “And then we see really low numbers of travel on actual Thanksgiving Day.”

Bob Wilson with CDOT says traffic headed east before Thanksgiving is light and the majority of traffic is headed west from Denver. After the holiday, Friday through Sunday, traffic is projected to be heavy headed east towards the Front Range and light in the opposite direction towards the Grand Valley.

We asked Bob how this year’s traffic outlook compares to last year.

“Generally we anticipate that we’ll have a little more traffic than we had last year due to the pandemic,” said Wilson. “But numbers could be a little bit depressed cuz often a lot of the traffic we see especially on the I-70 corridor is due to ski traffic. And right now checking in with a lot of the ski areas, not a lot of snow.”

Brett Shaffer is headed to the Front Range with his family for the holiday.

“We’re coming in from Salt Lake, headed into Aurora Colorado to visit some family for the holiday,” said Shaffer. “We’ve never driven this route before, we’ve never been on the 70. We came this route to see some beautiful scenery along the way. As far as traffic goes I don’t know. I don’t now what I’m expecting but hopefully clear roads.”

As far as air travel, the Grand Junction Regional Airport says the whole week has been busy and their regular parking lot is just about full. Ryan Manz arrived today at the airport, from Houston.

“It’s definitely busier than it has been this year,” said Manz. “I’ve flown a couple times this year to different parts of the country from the same airport in Houston going to Michigan earlier this year & it wasn’t too crazy but today with the holiday travel it’s a lot more busy. It seems like the lines at security & checking bags are a lot longer than normal today.”

Transportation officials say if you are heading back to the Front Range this weekend after Thanksgiving starting Friday, there’s really no way to beat traffic unless you wait until Monday. With Sunday being the heaviest travel day. They also say they’re not expecting weather to be a factor on I-70.

CDOT says you can always check their website for up to date driving conditions before you travel. Located at: https://www.cotrip.org/home

For specific information on I-70, visit: https://goi70.com/

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