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Holiday Travel Rush Starts With Jammed Roadways, Busy Airways

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RDU INTERNATIONAL — The travel rush is on as more people head out for the holiday weekend.

The holiday travel period started at 6 p.m Thursday, and one of the first places to feel the crunch wasRDU International.

Last year during the four-day Easter travel period, 120,000 passengers traveled through RDU. This year, the number is expected to be 160,000, a 33 percent increase in one year.

Mike Blanton, RDU spokesman, says there are several reasons for the sudden boom of travelers, "the growth of the Triangle region, more and more people moving here and the strength of the economy," Blanton says.

"One of the biggest thing driving it is that the airfares are more competitive right now at this airport than they ever had in the airport's history," he says.

The 2,700-space parking garage will not be ready in time for Easter. Those planning to leave their cars at the airport are asked to park in Park and Ride 4 for the holiday weekend.

Those who think they can escape the jam by avoiding the airport may want to think again.

On the eve of the holiday weekend, rush hour traffic is crawling on Interstate 40 and gas stations are packed.

Fuel prices have taken a small dip, but at around $1.40 a gallon, they will make a dent in the Easter weekend's travel budget.

The best advice is to try to get a head start and leave early.