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Published: Saturday, 6/30/2007

Midweek 4th of July holiday doesn't deter plans

Traffic on I-75 south is stymied at Wales Road yesterday. The AAA figures 41.1 million Americans have holiday travel plans. Traffic on I-75 south is stymied at Wales Road yesterday. The AAA figures 41.1 million Americans have holiday travel plans.
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Independence Day falling on a Wednesday this year isn't discouraging people from traveling for the holiday, nor is the continuing high price of gasoline, AAA reported in its preholiday travel survey.

Rather than try to build just a long weekend, many respondents to the auto club's survey said they planned to take the entire week off, with 55.1 percent across the country expecting to depart by today.

In the Great Lakes states, that percentage was only slightly lower, at an even 50 percent.

Overall, the auto club expects a record 41.1 million Americans to travel more than 50 miles from home for the holiday, 0.8 percent more than last year, based on a telephone survey of 1,950 adults by the Travel Industry Association of America.

Highway travelers, who as usual will account for more than four-fifths of all holiday trips, will find gasoline prices at all-time highs for early July, but considerably lower than they were before the Memorial Day weekend.

The June 26 national average price of $2.99 a gallon of self-service, unleaded regular was 23 cents lower than the May 26 average.

In Toledo, the difference is even greater.

Regular shot up to about $3.50 a gallon at many northwest Ohio gas stations during the week before Memorial Day. During June it has retreated to as low as the high $2.60s at some area outlets before rebounding in recent days to just shy of $3.

Prices peaked higher in Michigan and have remained higher during the recent price downdraft.

But some travelers said that, although the gas prices are not as high as they have been recently, the price hike is still putting a bit of a crimp on their holiday travel plans.

Linda Hall of Toledo said she is taking a three-day trip to Columbus next week for the holiday and gas prices definitely played a role in her travel plans.

As she filled up her gas tank yesterday, she said she shortened her trip to trim expenses.

"I decided to go a little bit tighter on other things, like going out to eat and shopping," she said. "I have to make sure not to splurge on other things because of the gas prices."

Other drivers said they were staying home for Independence Day and were glad to avoid a road trip with the high gas prices.

The main construction headache for travelers heading out of Toledo will be on U.S. 23 in northern Monroe County. Pavement repairs reduce the roadway to one lane each way between Dundee and Milan, Mich.

On the plus side, last weekend's opening of the Veterans' Glass City Skyway eliminates a twisty section of temporary I-280 that was restricted to 35 mph. The speed limit on the new bridge is temporarily reduced to 45 mph while work on the $237 million project is completed.







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