Heavy traffic on the Suncoast as holiday travelers hit the roadways ahead of Thanksgiving

Suncoast roadways busy with holiday travelers.
Suncoast roadways busy with holiday travelers.(WWSB)
Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 9:28 PM EST
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - It was a very busy day on Suncoast roadways this Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

“A day like this you’re looking at 40 to 50 percent more traffic based on numbers alone,” said Trooper Kenn Watson with the Florida Highway Patrol.

During a ride-along with Watson, heavy traffic could be seen everywhere, especially on I-75.

“Based on those numbers, with all that additional traffic coming down here, we want to make sure that we are safe,” said Watson.

High gas prices not stopping people from traveling for the holiday. Many of those travelers come to Florida from out of state.

“The traffic, you hit congested areas, then you have to finagle that,” said Lori and William Bechtel, a couple visiting Florida from Tennessee. “You get done, maybe another five miles and you hit it again, it’s nonstop like that.”

FHP is urging everyone to pay attention, put their devices down and take their time. AAA officials say around three million Floridians are traveling for Thanksgiving this year, many of them doing it by car.

“Be patient when you’re out there on the roads,” said Mark Jenkins, Spokesperson for AAA. “You’re sharing the roads with a lot of people out there, especially for Thanksgiving and as we move into the Christmas holiday, you should practice your patience.”

Gas prices this year are about $1.32 more a gallon compared to this same time last year.

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