Traffic expected to start Wednesday for Memorial Day rush

Wednesday, Thursday afternoons expected to be busiest
Posted at 8:39 AM, May 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-26 09:44:54-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — After a year with few vacations, AAA expects traffic backups to start mid-week for the Memorial Day holiday.

The group expects the roads to be at their worst Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.

NewsChannel 5's Rebecca Schleicher spoke with AAA spokesperson Megan Cooper, who expects nearly 700,000 Tennesseans to travel by car this year, a nearly 70% increase from 2020.

She also says visitors will contribute to the rush, with Nashville ranked the 5th hottest road trip destination in the country for the holiday weekend.

"Here in the southeast, it's one of the most popular travel destinations," Cooper said, "it’s easy to get to from multiple states. So even if you do plan to stay at home and staycation here in Nashville you could see a lot of people traveling here to our city."

That's despite gas prices averaging over a dollar more than this time last year at 2.87 a gallon.

To help, TDOT will suspend construction-related lane closures Friday at noon until early Tuesday morning.

But any drivers planning to leave Wednesday, Thursday or Friday should try to leave early to avoid traffic headaches. Cooper says it's best to avoid afternoon rush hour near larger metropolitan areas.

Are you headed to the airport? Get there early. AAA expects 85,000 Tennesseans to fly for the holiday. Which is even more than in 2019, the year before the pandemic.