Monday, Dec 11, 2017
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Decent weather but higher gas prices expected for Thanksgiving travelers

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    Gas pumps at a Kroger gas station in Toledo on Monday.

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    Tracy Hoehn, of Toledo, fills up her tank at a Kroger gas station in Toledo on Monday, November 20, 2017. Hoehn will be traveling to Wauseon, Ohio, over the holidays.

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    Mark Phillips, of Toledo, fills up his tank at a Kroger gas station in Toledo on Monday. Phillips will be staying in town over the holiday.

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    Mark Phillips, of Toledo, fills up his tank at a Kroger gas station in Toledo on Monday Phillips will be staying in town over the holiday.

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    Matthew Wayne, of Sylvania, Ohio, fills up his tank at a Kroger gas station in Toledo on Monday. Wayne will be traveling to Detroit over the holiday.

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  • 1121GasPrices

Mod­er­ate weather and mostly clear road­ways are ex­pected for the Toledo area’s share of the Thanks­giv­ing hol­i­day travel swarm, but those hit­ting the high­ways should plan on pay­ing more for gas than they’ve seen of late.

The Amer­i­can Au­to­mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion said its pre-hol­i­day travel sur­vey es­ti­mates a 3.3 per­cent in­crease in Amer­i­cans trav­el­ing more than 50 miles from home be­tween Wed­nes­day and Sun­day.

That would make this the bus­i­est Thanks­giv­ing travel week­end since 2005, the auto club said. The in­crease is ex­pected to be pro­por­tional on Ohio road­ways, with more than 2 mil­lion Ohio­ans hit­ting the road.

Among them will be Mat­thew Wayne of Syl­va­nia, who’s plan­ning to spend Thanks­giv­ing Day with rel­a­tives in Detroit.

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“I’ll be up there early in the morn­ing for the pa­rade, and then we’ll have din­ner and watch the Lions games,” Mr. Wayne said Mon­day af­ter­noon while pump­ing gas at the Kroger at Secor Road and Monroe Street.

Lo­cal gas­o­line prices av­er­ag­ing $2.598 per gal­lon — 52 cents higher per gal­lon than they were a year ago — on Mon­day afternoon had no im­pact what­so­ever on Mr. Wayne’s travel plans.

“I al­ways try to be home for Thanks­giv­ing,” he said.

Cindy Rus­seau, the re­tail man­ager at AAA North­west Ohio’s Air­port High­way of­fice in south­west Toledo, said the vast ma­jor­ity of hol­i­day trav­el­ers are in that 50-mile to 100-mile range.

And while a stron­ger econ­omy means more peo­ple trav­el­ing, she said, those vis­it­ing rel­a­tives mostly share Mr. Wayne’s at­ti­tude: “This is fam­ily, and peo­ple are go­ing to go no mat­ter what.”

Tracy Hoehn of West Toledo won’t be trav­el­ing quite as far — only to Wau­seon to visit her boy­friend’s grand­par­ents — but she was happy to have some shop­per loy­alty points she could use to knock down the price a bit as she gassed up her car.

Sev­eral oth­ers buy­ing gas Mon­day said they will stay close to home this week­end, but have rel­a­tives com­ing in from out of town.

“We’ll prob­a­bly go see the Lights Be­fore Christ­mas at the Toledo Zoo, es­pe­cially this year with my 3-month-old son,” said Mark Phil­lips of Toledo.

Jorge Mar­ro­quian, also of Toledo, said most of his rel­a­tives are lo­cal but two aunts are mak­ing a Thanks­giv­ing visit from Texas.

“They came from the warm weather to the cold weather,” he said.

Un­like some past years, weather should be a min­i­mal fac­tor for trav­el­ers in the lower Great Lakes this Thanks­giv­ing, whether they’re trav­el­ing by car or air­plane.

As of Mon­day af­ter­noon, the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice fore­cast through Sun­day for metro Toledo called for pre­cip­i­ta­tion only late Tues­day and Fri­day night, and only rain in both cases.

Skies are oth­er­wise ex­pected to be dry and of­ten sunny through­out the pe­riod, with day­time highs rang­ing from the mid-to-up­per 40s on Tues­day, to the mid-30s on Sun­day.

I-75 work zones in Toledo and Find­lay rep­resent the most sub­stan­tial or­ange-bar­rel in­festa­tions lin­ger­ing on high­ways in north­west Ohio and south­east Mich­i­gan as the 2017 con­struc­tion sea­son draws to its close.

And with two lanes open in both di­rec­tions in each work area — which is all those I-75 sec­tions had be­fore their cur­rent wid­en­ing proj­ects be­gan — the main con­ges­tion threat will be from crashes or break­downs, with mo­tor­ists need­ing to use par­tic­u­lar care when merg­ing or chang­ing lanes.

The Ohio Turn­pike said all of its ma­jor con­struc­tion is wrapped up for the year, al­though some day-to-day lane clos­ings could re­sume af­ter the hol­i­day week­end for late-sea­son main­te­nance.

The Ohio High­way Patrol in a state­ment re­minded trav­el­ers to wear seat belts at all times and avoid im­paired driv­ing. Of nine peo­ple who died in crashes in Ohio dur­ing last year’s Thanks­giv­ing travel pe­riod, the pa­trol said, five were in crashes in­volv­ing im­paired driv­ers and six were not wear­ing seat­belts.

“Safety belts save lives and re­duce in­jury in crashes,” Col. Paul Pride, the pa­trol’s su­per­in­ten­dent, said in a pre­pared state­ment. “It is the eas­i­est and most ef­fec­tive ac­tion you can take to pro­tect your­self, your fam­ily, and friends.”

Ms. Rus­seau also urged trav­el­ers to get ve­hi­cle check-ups be­fore head­ing out to make sure tires, bat­ter­ies, and other ba­sic ve­hi­cle sys­tems are in good work­ing or­der.

Contact David Patch at dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.

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