PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – As people prepare to celebrate the 4th of July, AAA officials said drivers could see record-breaking travel.
Packing up the bags and hitting the road, staff with AAA have said nationally speaking, more than 47 million are expected to travel for the holiday.
“Here in Illinois, 2.7 million people are going to be going somewhere, and of that [number], 2.5 [million] are going in an auto,” said Molly Hart, AAA spokesperson.
Hart said projections for road travel are exceeding pre-pandemic figures.
“2020 was just an outlier year for so many reasons. Of course [because of] the pandemic, people were not getting on the road, traveling anywhere, or going on vacation,” she said.
As for air travel, Gene Olson, Director of Airports at Peoria International Airport, said there’s still work to do in terms of reaching normal flight levels.
“We’re down about 14-15% on seat availability as compared to 2019,” he said.
But, looking ahead to the traffic expected at the airport this holiday weekend, Olson feels there is reason to be optimistic.
“If you look at the parking lot today compared to what it was in the middle of May or June, it’s a lot busier and it almost looks normal,” he said.
As people hit the roads, local law enforcement officials said there are key areas they’ll be keeping an eye on.
“There’s the big four violations which is speeding violations, seat belts, distracted driving, and driving under the influence,” said Deputy John Shallenberger with the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office.
Shallenberger said agencies across the state are teaming up to make sure the holiday is a safe one.
“We’re seeing more cars out there now, so that’s kind of why we are doing more enforcement now to get everyone home safe,” he said.
For those flying this weekend, Hart and Olson are encouraging passengers to arrive early to avoid any issues that may keep them from boarding their flight.