Pre-holiday travel problems kept to minimum

November 27, 2008|By Brent Jones

Marylanders taking to the roads and air yesterday faced steady but not insufferable traffic as major delays stayed at a minimum, authorities said, due in part to a slight decrease in Thanksgiving eve travel.

Although gasoline prices have dropped 52 percent since mid-July, officials from AAA Mid-Atlantic say they expected travel this week to be the lowest since 2002, partly because of the struggling economy.

Rush-hour traffic on the Bay Bridge was heavy but not significant, said Cheryl Sparks, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Transportation Authority. Automobiles moved at a steady pace along the Baltimore Beltway, and Interstate 95 in Maryland was congested at times, transportation officials said.

A water main break in the 5500 block of Moravia Ave. closed the nearby entrance to I-95, but it did not cause major delays.

At BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, officials said there were no significant problems. About 77,500 air passengers were expected yesterday.

"The flight monitors at the airport showed a lot of on-time travel, and I think that weather has not been a factor," said BWI spokesman Jonathan Dean.

Amtrak expected to carry 128,000 passengers in the United States yesterday, and many travelers at Baltimore's Penn Station say the bustle was more orderly than expected.

About 6 p.m. yesterday, the train arrival board showed only one delay - of five minutes.

Shannon Stokes-Graham of Baltimore said the near on-time arrival of the train reinforced her decision to travel by rail.

"We came about an hour ahead of time," said Stokes-Graham, who was headed to North Carolina to visit family. "But it's not a lot of chaos at all."

Mary Jones of Baltimore, also waiting to board the train to North Carolina, said she expected the station to be busy but manageable. "This is the way I like to travel all the time," Jones said.

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