Thanksgiving: Holiday travel updates, forecasts & more

4 P.M. UPDATE: Traffic is slowing down.

Posted: Nov 20, 2018 7:36 PM
Updated: Nov 21, 2018 4:34 PM

2:45 P.M. UPDATE: Traffic is slowing down in our area, especially on Interstate 5 North near Albany.

Allow some extra time to get where you need to go.

A few crashes between Tangent and Albany on I-5 Wednesday afternoon are backing up traffic, as well, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation.  

ODOT said the delay on I-5 northbound at milepost 228 is estimated to be under 20 minutes.

There is a heavy traffic jam on I-5 northbound between Halsey and Salem.

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EUGENE, Ore. -- With AAA predicting this year will have the highest volume of Thanksgiving travel since 2005, it’s important to plan ahead for the holiday weekend.

ROAD TRAFFIC

Nationally, more than 54 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home during the week of Thanksgiving, a nearly 5 percent increase from last year.

A majority of those travelers will be driving – an estimated 48.5 million people.

Here in Oregon, about 704,000 people will be traveling – 609,000 by car.

Nationally, gas prices are expected to be on the rise, but according to AAA Oregon, we’ll be seeing the largest weekly drop of the year in pump prices as we head into the holiday weekend.

Oregon’s average is dropping seven cents to $3.20, AAA said.

The Oregon Department of Transportation reminded drivers to expect traffic and a record number of travelers starting Wednesday and continuing through Sunday. Heavy congestion is especially expected on Interstate 5.

Staffing will be increased to help deal with congestion and crashes, and more signage will be posted to warn travelers about delays, ODOT said.

Drivers should remain patient, make sure their vehicle is in good working order and take emergency supplies on the road with them, ODOT said.

For more information about road construction projects that may be taking place along your route, click here.

To check real-time road conditions, click here.

AIR TRAVEL

Not only will the roads be busier than we’ve seen on the holiday in more than a dozen years, the Transportation Security Administration is projecting that this year will be the busiest Thanksgiving for air travel ever.

The TSA said the busiest day will likely be the Sunday following Thanksgiving as everyone returns home from their trips. They said nationally, they expect to screen up to 2.6 million people per day leading up to the holiday and 2.7 million the Sunday after.

Those traveling on Thanksgiving Day or the Friday after should expect a lighter travel day.

WEATHER

Locally, we’re looking at a rainy holiday weekend.

Coast

  • Wednesday: Rain showers
  • Thursday: Rain, breezy with winds 10-20 mph, gusts 30 mph
  • Friday: Rain
  • Weekend: Mostly cloudy, a few showers Saturday night to Sunday morning

Valley & Umpqua

  • Wednesday: Rain showers
  • Thursday: Rain, breezy with winds 15-25 mph
  • Friday: Rain
  • Weekend: Mostly cloudy, a few showers Saturday night to Sunday morning

Cascade & Siskiyou passes

  • Wednesday: Wintry mix, little to no accumulation
  • Thursday: Snow down to 4,500 feet, 3-7" accumulation
  • Thursday night: Snow down to 4,500 feet, 5-9" accumulation
  • Friday: Wintry mix, 1-2" accumulation possible
  • Weekend: Mostly cloudy, a few snow showers Saturday night to Sunday morning above 5,000 feet

Watch our Winter Weather Special on KEZI 9 News at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21.

To track weather changes on our website, click here.

BLACK FRIDAY & CIVIL WAR

With shoppers out looking for Black Friday deals and the Civil War game between the Ducks and Beavers on Friday, traffic on I-5 could be even more jammed this holiday weekend.

For those shopping locally, the city of Eugene will be offering free parking at city-owned spaces and garages downtown on Nov. 23 and 24 -- Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. The city hopes this will encourage residents to shop locally and support local businesses. 

"We're excited to partner with the Downtown Eugene Merchants to support local businesses and make the holiday shopping experience better for everyone," said Jeff Petry, parking and technology manager with the city.

The free parking locations are the following:

  • Overpark
  • Parcade
  • Pearl Street
  • Hult Center
  • Broadway North
  • Broadway South
  • Library Garages

On-street spaces in downtown Eugene are also included in the holiday weekend free parking:

  • 5th Avenue to 18th Avenue
  • Lincoln Street to High Street
  • Parking lot at 829 Pearl St.

If you're headed to Woodburn to take advantage of the Black Friday deals there, ODOT officials said it's important to approach the exit in the far right lane several miles before the exit, as traffic will likely be backed up. 

However, if you're headed past the busy Woodburn Interchange, perhaps to enjoy the Civil War game in Corvallis, ODOT officials advise staying in the left lane to avoid the backup of vehicles taking the exit. 

Kickoff for the Civil War is set for 1 p.m. Football fans headed to the game should leave early and allow for plenty of travel time.

Download our news and weather apps for the latest.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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