Massachusetts

Labor Day Travel Expected to Reach Pre-Pandemic Levels

AAA said one of the things that could keep people closer to home this weekend is inflation

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Officials from AAA are expecting this to be the busiest Labor Day weekend since 2019, before the pandemic.

Just in time, gas prices are getting a bit lower. The average price for a gallon of regular gas in Massachusetts is now $3.95, according to AAA. That’s the first time it’s dipped below $4 since February.

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Traffic started really picking up over the last couple of days but the Highway Administrator says we’ll see the worst of it on Monday, when people start heading back from their vacations out of state. 

One thing that should help ease congestion -- the Massachusetts Department of Transportation is shifting HOV and swing lanes to a holiday schedule this weekend, and pausing major construction projects like the Sumner Tunnel.

“We are expecting heavier than average congestion in those areas so you should plan ahead of you are taking those routes,” Jonathan Gulliver of MassDOT said. "We’re doing only non-discretionary work, things that are emergency in nature and behind barriers that are not going to impact regular travel."

AAA said one of the things that could keep people closer to home this weekend, however, is inflation.

On top of travelers headed to their holiday weekend getaways, there were a lot of moving trucks and trailers out on the roads Saturday. It's a busy weekend between the Labor Day holiday and the start of the school year.

Steven Willard and his family were among thousands of people packing up their children's stuff and hitting the road to Boston.

"Today it wasn’t so bad," Willard said. "In years past, I mean we love the city of Boston, but the three worst things are driving, parking and housing."

Jake Lusben also moved to a new place this weekend and said he was pretty lucky.

"I got pretty lucky I feel like I didn’t run into any traffic today so pretty smooth sailing," he said. "When I was originally looking to rent this [truck], it was like I looked about a week ago and it was going to be about $1,000 for a single day and I looked a couple days ago and luckily the prices went down so I lucked out on that but I think everyone is just renting these."

"You can see them all over the place now," Lusben added.

While gas prices have largely fallen below $4 in Massachusetts, drivers stopping at highway service plazas are still paying more than they'd like.

One gas station along Route 128 was only down to $4.39 a gallon for regular unleaded, but it’s one of the highest priced stations in the area because it’s on the highway.

“It’s like the fact that we pay for gas at all is crazy, but I mean, at least it’s getting a little bit lower,” one traveler said. “Over here service plazas don’t really do you justice, but, I mean, at least they’re going down right?”

"Compared to New Jersey its much higher," a person at the Framingham service plaza said. "We’re at like $3.87 I see here you’re at $4.45 so that’s kind of a big difference especially when you got a gas guzzler going on."

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