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Traveling this Thanksgiving? Here are AAA's expected traffic jams in Massachusetts

Skyline Boston with cars backed up on bridge

The worst traffic in the state's highly traveled areas, in and around Boston, is expected to come Wednesday, with increases as high as 76 percent over normal traffic in one area, according to AAA Northeast.

Those planning to drive through Massachusetts for Thanksgiving this year would be smart to leave early.

The worst traffic in the state’s highly traveled areas, in and around Boston, is expected to come Wednesday, with increases as high as 76 percent over normal traffic in one area, according to AAA Northeast.

The biggest increases are expected on Interstate 93. Southbound traffic there is expected to be 76 percent higher than on a normal non-holiday weekday Wednesday between Exit 20, where the highway intersects with the Massachusetts Turnpike, and Exit 4, its junction with Route 24, AAA says.

Northbound traffic on I-93 is expected to be 53 percent higher between exits 17 and 25.

Traffic hotspots abound

Other hotspots will include Interstate 95 where southbound traffic is expected to be 30 percent higher between exits 36 and 21; and Interstate 90 (the Mass Pike), where westbound traffic between exits 131 (Brighton and Cambridge) and exit 95 (the junction of Route 122) is expected to be 26 percent higher.

On Route 3 northbound, traffic volume is expected to be 19 percent higher between exits 36 and 20, where it intersects with Interstate 93.

This year’s holiday travelers should have plenty of company.

According to AAA, 54.6 million people nationally are expected to travel 50 miles or more from their homes this year, an increase of 1.5 percent over last year. This year is expected to be the third busiest for Thanksgiving travel since AAA began tracking those numbers 22 years ago. More than 1.3 million Massachusetts travelers are expected to be on the road, a 2.4 percent increase from 2021. AAA considers Wednesday through Sunday as the Thanksgiving holiday travel period.

The good news is that gas prices, while not inexpensive, are lower than they were last week both regionally and nationally. Still, they are expected to be some 20 cents higher on Thanksgiving than last year.

The state’s average gas price has dropped 4 cents this week to $3.81 per gallon, while the national average has fallen 11 cents to $3.66, AAA Northeast reported Monday.

In Berkshire County, the average price is $3.80, 1 cent higher than two weeks ago, but 25 cents more than at the end of October.

Gas in the Berkshires is the second most expensive among the four counties in Western Massachusetts, trailing only Franklin County at $3.83. The average prices among the state’s 14 counties this week range from $3.69 in Bristol County to $4.93 in Dukes County (Martha’s Vineyard).

The average state price is 22 cents higher than a month ago, and 39 cents higher than this time last year. The national price is 16 cents lower than a month ago but 26 cents higher than last year.

“The national average has fallen sharply since the June peak of nearly $5.02,” said AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross. “But this Thanksgiving will be about 20 cents higher than a year ago, and a dollar more per gallon than a pre-pandemic 2019. However, we can be thankful that gas prices are moving in the right direction for now.”

Tony Dobrowolski can be reached at tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6224.

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