Last year, more Ohioans hit the highways for Memorial Day weekend than any other year over the last decade and a half. This year, officials are anticipating even more.
AAA predicts nearly 1.7 million Ohio residents will travel for the upcoming holiday weekend, an increase of more than 3%. Of those Ohioans traveling, 1.5 million — or roughly 90% — will do so by car.
The increase in holiday auto travel comes despite a steady increase in gas prices across the Buckeye State, said AAA spokeswoman Jenifer Moore. Ohio's average gas price this week, though, did see a 1-cent decrease.
"Even though gas prices have been lingering around the $3 threshold, Ohioans will not be deterred from traveling this holiday weekend," Moore said in a news release. She recommended that drivers monitor gas prices as the weekend approaches, both here in the Tri-State and in their destination cities. AAA provides a gas price calculator on its website.
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Moore also said the auto club anticipates more than 6,000 Cincinnati-area drivers will require some sort of roadside assistance this weekend.
"Top issues will most likely be dead/overheated batteries, flat tires and tows due to more serious vehicle issues," she said.
As for highway construction, Ohio Department of Transportation spokesman Brian Cunningham said work pauses on the roadways for the weekend.
"Things shut down at noonish on Friday and won't start again until 6-ish a.m. on Tuesday," he said.
Some standing construction zones will remain in place across southwest Ohio, Cunningham said:
- Interstate 71 between the Norwood Lateral and Ronald Reagan Highway
- The interchange between Interstates 74 and 75
- Interstate 75 north of the Lockland Split until Interstate 275
- On the Combs Hehl (I-275) Bridge between Campbell and Hamilton counties
About 5% of Ohioans will travel by airplane, and roughly 4% will travel by other modes of transportation, such as buses or cruise ships, Moore said.
In Northern Kentucky, road work will pause also, but some lane closures will remain in effect, according to Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokeswoman Nancy Wood:
- Interstate 275 pavement rehabilitation work will pause, but the barrier wall will remain in place and traffic will still move in two lanes going EB
- Lanes will remain shifted with a barrier wall in place along Interstate 75 NB between Mount Zion Road and U.S. 42
For those who are sticking around the Cincinnati area for the weekend, several road closures at The Banks and Downtown will stretch through the weekend. The stretch of Second Street between Elm and Walnut streets closed last weekend to host "American Ninja Warrior." Taste of Cincinnati will close Fifth Street between Main Street and the on-ramps to Interstate 71 and U.S. 50/Columbia Parkway. The food festival also will shut down Broadway between Fourth and Sixth streets, and the southern half of the 500 block of Sycamore Street.