Chicago traffic: Busiest day on the roads ahead as travelers head to Thanksgiving 2021 after Biden oil move seeks to push prices down

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CHICAGO (WLS) – Wednesday is set to be the busiest day on the roads as people head off to spend Thanksgiving with their families.

But getting to your destination won’t be cheap.

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Sarah Heiderscheidt braved the Milwaukee freeways to Hanover Park to celebrate Thanksgiving. She even brought a friend with him for company.

“He was a frequent traveler. Sits in the passenger seat and relaxes. Worked great,” she said.

According to AAA, Heiderscheidt joined nearly 50 million other people across the country on the roads this Thanksgiving eve. They said that despite soaring gasoline prices, 90% of people traveling on vacation were driving.

In Illinois, an estimated 2.7 million people are expected to travel on Thanksgiving, with the vast majority planning to drive as well.

“Last year, out of prudence, a lot of people chose not to travel. This year they feel more optimistic and want to celebrate Thanksgiving,” said Molly Hart of AAA.

AAA said peak congestion hours for Chicago-area drivers are Wednesday afternoons and evenings from noon to 8 p.m.

By early afternoon on the outgoing Kennedy Expressway to Rockford or Wisconsin, travel times were already skyrocketing.

Coming from Wisconsin, however, Heiderscheidt said the traffic wasn’t that bad, and his parents thank him for it.

“In Milwaukee there was a bit of traffic but after that it was fine,” said Heiderscheidt.

“You as a parent always worry when the kids are traveling alone. But we’re glad she’s safe,” added her mother, Susan.

Even with the high prices of gasoline, people find a way to fill up and go.

However, help is on the way as President Joe Biden announced the release of 50 million barrels of emergency oil reserves.

Although relief may take weeks.

“We should see downdrafts at the pump just in time for, potentially, Christmas, but prices are still going to be fine in that $ 3-per-gallon territory, where it’s pretty uncomfortable,” said Patrick De Haan, with GasBuddy.

In the Chicago area, the average price of regular unleaded gasoline is $ 3.57 per gallon, compared to Thanksgiving week last year, when it was $ 2.17 per gallon.

“I just got back from Tennessee, to pick up my daughter from college because she left for Thanksgiving vacation. Oh my gosh, I probably stocked up and spent about $ 100 on that alone. ‘in gasoline, so gasoline prices are really high, “said driver Monique Frierson. .

“It’s killing me. When I bought my car in 2018 I could fill it up for $ 50. I put in $ 40 the other day and it barely half-filled it,” another traveler said. .

Travel experts report that travel this year will be nearly triple the volume of last year, so plan accordingly: have a winter kit, get real-time road conditions, and have a roadside assistance plan if You need it.

Nine million vehicles are expected to use the toll system over the Thanksgiving holiday, and 1.8 million vehicles are expected to use Highway 294 alone.

To help alleviate traffic problems, all toll highway construction will be restricted from Wednesday noon to Monday at 9 a.m.

O’Hare Airport was also busy Wednesday morning. TSA said it screened more than two million passengers on Tuesday.

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