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More than 721,000 Marylanders projected to travel Memorial Day weekend

State Highway Administration will lift any planned lane closures associated with construction

May 24, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com

With gas prices dropping and economic conditions slowly improving, the number of Marylanders traveling over the Memorial Day weekend is expected to increase slightly this year, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

More than 721,000 Marylanders are projected to travel this weekend, a 1.4 percent increase over 2011, AAA said in a news release.

One of those is Hagerstown resident Richard Brill, 67, who was leaving Thursday on his Memorial Day weekend trip.

“I’m going to the NASCAR race down in Charlotte,” N.C., he said. “It’s the start of the summer and good weather.”

Dona Nikirk, 68, of Hagerstown, said she and her family were heading to the Eastern Shore.

“We’re going down to a waterfront home to just have fun and relax,” she said. “For years, we’ve been water people.”

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Nearly 646,000 Marylanders are expected to drive to their destinations this Memorial Day weekend, a 1.4 percent increase from 2011, the release said.

Nearly 53,000 Marylanders — 7 percent of Maryland travelers — are expected to travel by air,  a 5.4 percent decrease from 2011, the release said.

Nearly 23,000 Marylanders are expected to choose an alternate mode of transportation, including buses, trains, or on the water. Although that is only 3 percent of overall travelers, it is nearly a 21.6 percent increase from 2011, the release said.

Maryland State Police will be out in force patrolling the state’s highways over the weekend.

And the Maryland State Highway Administration will lift any planned lane closures associated with construction with the exception of emergencies, SHA spokesman Charlie Gischlar said.

“We want all people to follow the basic rules of the road,” Gischlar said. “Plan it out, check your car out, maybe leave early and stay late.”

Motorists can use the 511 service on their phones and check www.roads.maryland.gov for any traffic updates on SHA roads.

Before starting on their trips, motorists should check out their vehicles, Gischlar said.

“Check your tires and under your hood, including the radiator hose,” he said. “A couple extra dollars and a few extra minutes could save you time on the road.”

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