Transit officials are bracing for pre-pandemic levels of traffic between New Jersey and New York City during the week of Thanksgiving, when the Port Authority estimates bridge and tunnel ridership will match 2019 volumes.
The transit agency says recent traffic trends suggest an estimated 3.5 million vehicles could hit the streets over a 5-day period this week. In preparation for the surge, officials have suspended all lane closure for non-emergency construction through Thanksgiving weekend.
But it's not just the roads that will see a spike in traffic. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said more than 1.4 million passengers are expected to pass through their airports. That figure would be the highest pandemic travel surge, but would still only be 85% of 2019's total. Overall, about four million people are expected to get on flights nationwide for the holiday.
At LaGuardia and Newark Airport, flyers might reach 90% of pre-pandemic levels. Between the holiday surge, ongoing construction and possible staffing shortages, officials warn of longer than usual wait times.
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The Thanksgiving message is simple: plan ahead. That means travelers flying domestic should think about arriving two hours before their flight, and three hours early if traveling internationally.
In anticipation of high volumes of travelers, the Port Authority released a list of travel tips that includes real-time wait tracking and COVID-19 information.