Traffic remains heavy as travelers head out for Thanksgiving

Wednesday is the busiest travel day of the year.

The Thanksgiving rush is in full swing Wednesday afternoon.

Traffic volume began building in metro Atlanta around 2 p.m. and the Wednesday evening drive, when commuters will join the throngs of holiday travelers, hasn’t helped matters.

On the bright side, the predicted worst time to hit the road in Buckhead has come and passed. The Georgia Department of Transportation expected the worst traffic to be until 4 p.m. With 5 to 10 percent more drivers on the road than normal, speeds were expected to slow 35 to 45 percent.

Traffic is expected to be heavy all around Atlanta Wednesday. Commuters will likely experience slower trip times through 6 p.m., according to GDOT.

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Matt Glasser, an interstate traffic engineer with the agency, told Channel 2 Action News the trouble spots should be northeast and northwest Atlanta.

"In fact, in some places, it's going to be 50 (minutes) slower than your typical commute," he said.

Glasser said GDOT analyzed traffic patterns from last Thanksgiving and compared them to a typical Wednesday evening commute to come up with their figures. They produced a map to show the best and worst times to hit the roads over the holiday and into the weekend.


The agency plans to have HERO units out in force to help with any incidents that could slow Thanksgiving travel even further.

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By the time families sit down for turkey on Thursday, volume on Atlanta freeways should be light. Downtown is the exception, according to GDOT.

Downtown Atlanta should see its worst travel time of the week from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday.


The good news is drivers will not have to contend with construction. At 6 a.m., GDOT suspended construction-related lane closures on interstates and major state routes. The suspension will remain in effect until 5 a.m. Monday.


For those planning their trips back home, the northern suburbs should see traffic pick up Saturday morning and clear out for the afternoon and evening. GDOT suggests drivers traveling the Top End Perimeter avoid leaving from about 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Downtown and through the southern suburbs, traffic is expected to be a little heavier over the weekend. Downtown interstates could slow about 2 p.m. Saturday and from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. Sunday.

» For updated traffic information, listen to News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB and follow  @ajcwsbtraffic on Twitter.