Holiday traffic hits U.S. 231

Published 8:36 am Thursday, December 17, 2015

By Michael Shipma

Kimberlee Messer sees first-hand the increase in holiday traffic.

The store manager of Kangaroo Express, Messer said U.S. 231 gets much busier during the holiday travel season.

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“There’s a lot more traffic coming through town around this time” she said. “With all the people visiting and the last-minute Christmas shopping, things definitely get a lot busier.”

Experts say traffic during the year-end holiday travel season is predicted to top 100 million across the nation.

Holiday travelers rely heavily on state highways and interstates to reach their destinations, a factor results in a major uptick in traffic coming through Pike County via U.S. Highway 231.

“The increase in holiday travel this year is being driven by continued improvement in the labor market, rising incomes and low prices, including gas prices that remain well below last year’s levels,” said a report from AAA.

“The national average price for a gallon of gasoline remains poised to fall below the $2 per gallon benchmark by Christmas,” the AAA statement said. “Today’s national average is $2.01 per gallon, 54 cents less than last year. The Alabama average price is currently $1.81 per gallon, 59 cents less than last year. AAA expects most U.S. drivers will pay the lowest gas prices on New Year’s Day since 2009.”

Messer also predicts that with the recent drop in gas prices, more people will be driving to their holiday destinations as opposed to flying.

Because of this, Troy Chief of Police Randall Barr cautions drivers as they go about their travels this holiday season.

“Always be aware and cautious when making any sort of car trip,” he said.

“Take the time to prepare, and leave early so that you’re not in a rush to reach your destination.

Extra officers will be out and about on the streets over the holidays, not looking to write tickets, but to make sure that traffic rules are being followed and that people are safe.”

Planning for your trip ahead of time is the best advice Barr said he could offer. Doing small things like checking your route for construction or accidents can save time and hassle on the roadways. Even making sure that stops made along the way are at safe, well-lit places could make a difference.

“Prior to leaving, always be sure to check that your vehicle’s battery, brakes, and tires are all functioning properly, especially during the winter season,” he added