Traffic on I-84

Traffic on Interstate 84 funnels through the construction area at the twin bridges over the Snake River Friday afternoon, as the Fourth of July holiday period approaches, and record numbers of people are expected to be on the highways.

ONTARIO – AAA is projecting that a record 49 million people will travel during the Independence Day holiday, the highest volume since the nonprofit agency started tracking the numbers in 2000, its news release states.

“This is the sixth year in a row we’re seeing a jump in the number of travelers for the holiday,” said Marie Dodds, Oregon/Idaho AAA spokeswoman, in a statement. “Strong economic fundamentals are driving the travel boom. Consumer optimist and additional disposable income are encouraging people to spend their money on things like travel.”

The vast majority of those traveling for the holiday period, 85 percent, will be hitting the roads, a

4.3 percent increase over 2018.

In Oregon, more than 500,000 people are expected to take a getaway during the holiday travel period which runs from July 3 to July 7. For Idaho more than 260,000 are projected to travel during the period.

AAA lists similar top destinations for Idaho and Oregon travelers, including Seattle, Los Angeles/Anaheim, Las Vegas, Hawaii and Vancouver B.C. Other closer destinations include national parks, central Oregon, the Oregon coast and Crater Lake.

If traveling by vehicle, the best time to start out is early morning and travel on the morning of the fourth will actually have the least amount of traffic, the AAA release reads.

“The busiest time on the highways will be Wednesday afternoon as commuters tmix with holiday travelers,” AAA says.

“With a record number of road trippers, you can count on a lot of company — pack your patience and give yourself plenty of extra time to get to your destination,” says Dodds.

People taking a road trip should be sure to take an emergency kit along with them. Those kits should include jumper cables, a flashlight, extra batteries, mobile phones and chargers, a first aid kit, took kit and drinking water and non-perishable snacks. Include your pets in that.

Gas prices have been decreasing since Memorial Day, but with international tensions oil prices may go back up, affecting gas prices.

In the Pacific region that includes Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii, California and Washington, nearly one million travelers (13.2%) are expected to fly, as the region normally has a higher share of air travel than other regions because of distances to be covered.

Average fares for the top 40 domestic flights are up 10% over 2018, according to AAA’s Travel Index.

Travel by cruise ships, trains, buses will account for 3.55 million passengers, an increase of about 0.6% over 2018.

Larry Meyer is a news reporter at The Argus Observer. He can be reached at (541) 823-4813 or by emailing larrym@argusobserver.com. To comment on this story, go to www.argusobserver.com.

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Larry Meyer is a reporter for the Argus Observer.

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