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Santa Clarita hits the road for the holiday

Transportation: Right conditions could make for traffic nightmare over holiday weekend

Posted: July 2, 2010 7:47 p.m.
Updated: July 3, 2010 4:30 a.m.

Looking southbound, traffic begins to pile up on Interstate 5 heading in both directions on Friday near the Lyons Avenue off-ramp. The Automobile Club is expecting a 19-percent increase in traffic over Fourth of July weekend.

 

 

If it seems to you the freeway is extra crowded this weekend, you’re right.

For the first time in two years, the number of holiday travelers is on the rise.

The Automobile Club of Southern California reports that 2.57 million Southern California residents were planning trips this holiday weekend, a 19-percent increase from last year.

And most of those holiday travelers said they’d be getting around in cars.

At least while you’re sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, you can console yourself with the knowledge that you aren’t paying any more at the pump than you did last year.

Gas prices are about the same as this time last year, the Auto Club reports. They’ve gone up a little the past two weeks — less than 2 cents a gallon — but compared to many years when they skyrocket in the summer, this year is a good one to get behind the wheel.

Motorists with mobile Internet devices may catch a break in traffic by using the California Highway Patrol’s real-time traffic website at http://m.chp.ca.gov.

If your phone isn’t so smart, you can always call the CHP traffic-information line at (800) 427-7623 to check for road closures.

The CHP also warns drivers that this weekend is a “maximum-enforcement period.” That means all available officers will be on the road from 6 p.m. Friday through midnight Monday.

Last year, 24 people were killed statewide during the Fourth of July weekend; the CHP reminds drivers to wear their seat belts and not to drink and drive.

Those who do happen to have a few too many at somebody’s backyard barbecue can call the Automobile Club’s Tipsy Tow service at (800) 400-4222 between 6 p.m. Saturday and midnight Sunday for a free tow and ride home up to seven miles away.

If camping in the Angeles National Forest is your idea of a great Fourth of July, the U.S. Forest Service reminds you that all fireworks, including those labeled “safe and sane,” are prohibited under federal law.

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