Thanksgiving Travel Guide 2018: Best, worst times for Chicago drivers

A record number of people will be traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday.

About 54.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from Wednesday to Sunday -- almost 5 percent more compared to last year, according to AAA. In Illinois, 2.8 million people will be traveling, which is also 5 percent more than last year.

--Best time to leave - 6 a.m. Thanksgiving
--Worst time to leave - 3 p.m. Wednesday before Thanksgiving
--Best time to return - 6 a.m. Sunday after Thanksgiving
--Worst time to return - 3 p.m. Sunday after Thanksgiving or 3 p.m. Friday after Thanksgiving
--Worst time to drive to O'Hare - Between 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Wednesday before Thanksgiving. During that time, it could take between 1.5 and 2 hours.

Source: Google

Check out Google's new interactive site for more information,

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The Thanksgiving travel season is expected to be busy because of cheap airfare and gas prices.

The good news is that the Illinois Department of Transportation will not have additional construction closures in place from 5 a.m. Wednesday until 12:01 a.m. Monday.

The bad news is that there are still plenty of expressways and tollways with construction in place.

Below are the ones that could cause the most delays:


-Kennedy Expressway at Cumberland
-Jane Byrne Interchange
-Dan Ryan at 95th/CTA Red Line Station
-Tri-State (I-294) Reconstruction
-North Tri-State (I-94) construction
-South Tri-State (I-294/I-80) repair project
-Reagan Tollway (I-88) at I-290
-Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355)
-Veterans Memorial Bridge Repairs (I-355)

For more information about Illinois/Chicago area traffic conditions, visit:

-I-39/90 Expansion Project
-I-94 North-South Freeway Project

For more about Wisconsin traffic conditions, visit:

-I-65 Northwest Indiana Expansion
-I-80/94: The left shoulder is closed in both directions between Colorado and Clay streets, just east of Gary in Lake County.
-I-65: The shoulders are closed in both directions between State Road 2 and State Road 14 in Lake, Newton and Jasper Counties.
-U.S. 41: The right lane is closed in both directions between 77th and 93rd avenues in St. John and also between 45th and Main streets in Highland.
-U.S. 20: One lane is flowing in each direction between U.S. 35 and State Road 39 in La Porte County.

For more about Indiana Real-Time Traffic Conditions, visit:

-Keep at least half a tank of gasoline at all times
-Make sure tires are properly inflated
-Fill windshield fluid reservoir with winter (non-freezing) fluid
-In a skid, always look and steer in the direction you want to go
-Keep a blanket, gloves, hats, food, water and any needed medications in your vehicle
-If you become stranded, stay in your vehicle until help arrives

For more winter driving safety tips, click here.

Source: AAA

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Long lines and big crowds are expected at O'Hare Wednesday.

Both Midway and O'Hare airports are expected to be among the busiest airports in the nation for Thanksgiving holiday travel this year with more than two million passengers expected starting Tuesday through next Monday, a 5.4 percent increase compared to last year based on airline ticket information.

A lot of people bring food through the airports for Thanksgiving, so TSA officials said the basic thing they want you to know is that if you can pump it, pour it, spread it or spray it, then it needs to go in your checked bag. Anything that's a solid food like breads, pies or cakes can go in your carry on.

The TSA is suggesting that you arrive at least 2 hours before your flight and is promising they are prepared for the volume expected.

"We have added additional staffing to both airports," said TSA Regional Director Steve Lorincz. "We also added additional canine resources to make sure that we're able to handle the volumes coming at both airports."

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