Thanksgiving is the busiest travel holiday of the year on Texas highways, according to the Texas Department of Transportation, so there’s no guarantee you won’t get stuck in traffic on your way to see family this week.
Your travel woes, however, won’t be a result of the seemingly never-ending construction across the state.
As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, all construction work was shut down and road closures on hold until 9 a.m. Monday.
“We don’t want to impact traffic unnecessarily,” TxDot regional spokesman Val Lopez said. “Not only with closures but also with construction crews along the roadways.”
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TxDot’s “closure blackout” — which happens every year during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, Lopez said — should be helpful this week: About 3.9 million Texas residents are expected to travel more than 50 miles from home for Thanksgiving, a three percent increase over last year, according to AAA Texas.
About 3.6 million of those Texans will be traveling by vehicle, while about about 255,000 are expected to travel by plane. Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, is typically when most motorists hit the road, Lopez said.
Here’s some more travel information to be aware of heading into the holidays:
The Dallas-Fort Worth ‘hotspots’
AAA also collects data on the top 10 traffic “hotspots” for the most congested cities in the country, Dallas-Fort Worth included.
Fortunately for Tarrant County motorists, seven of the top 10 locations are in Dallas, including the No. 1 spot on U.S. 75, where the highway connects to Interstate 30 and Interstate 45.
No. 2 on the list was Interstate 35W at Garden Acres Drive in south Fort Worth. I-35W at North Loop 820 and I-35W at Meacham Boulevard in north Fort Worth were 7th and 10th on the list, respectively.
Gas prices in Texas on Tuesday were averaging $2.28 per gallon, a quarter lower than the national average, according to AAA. The prices in Tarrant County were the same as the national average.
Last year at this time, gas prices in Texas were averaging $1.92 per gallon, according to AAA.
The AAA app can help you find the lowest gas prices near you, and Gas Buddy is also a good resource for up-to-date prices.
Getting to the airport
If you do fly, simply getting to the airport might pose a challenge.
An estimated UberX fare from downtown Fort Worth to DFW Airport on Tuesday afternoon was $32.16. The same trip with Lyft, another ride-share service, was an estimated $33.
Parking at the airport could be a cheaper option, depending on how long you’ll be gone. Remote parking at DFW is $10 per day, express parking is $12 for uncovered and $15 for covered, and terminal parking is $24 per day.
Need an oil change? Get in line
Drivers looking to get an oil change or car inspection ahead of holiday travels should prepare to wait.
Automotive repair shops see an uptick in business in the week leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas as drivers pop in to have their car evaluated for a road trip, said Martin Salinas, owner of G & M Tire & Services Center in Fort Worth.
“This time of year we tend to be busy all the time,” Salinas said. “It’s going to be really tough for a lot of shops.”
Though his shop will close early Wednesday, he said many shops stay open later for customers looking for last-minute services and to make up for the industrywide slowdown beginning in November.
He said drivers should take the time to check car fluids, spare tire, and ensure what roadside assistance services they have available to them.
“It’ll save you a lot of heartache in the long run,” Salinas said.