MADISON, Wis. — Holiday travel was well underway Friday as thousands in the Madison area headed out to their Memorial Day destinations with many more travelers are expected to follow.
Officials from the Wisconsin State Patrol said they’re planning for what they can on the highways, but with the sheer number of drivers anticipated, traffic flow is very unpredictable.
Trooper Jack Barker recommends heading out early enough to give yourself room to wait in traffic so you can arrive both on time and safe. Before you do that, he said you’ll want to make sure your car is in good shape to handle the trip.
For their part, state troopers will have an increased presence with details focused on speed enforcement, cracking down on drunk driving and the Click It or Ticket initiative.
“We just want to mitigate all of the bad or unsafe factors that could happen and clear the way for people trying to get where they’re going,” Barker said.
At the Dane County Regional Airport, spokesperson Michael Riechers said the advice is a little different for those traveling by plane, but the importance of planning ahead is the same, especially because travel is up.
“I just ran the numbers [Friday] morning we’re about 17% above last year’s travel numbers for the same weekend," he explained.
He recommends showing up 90 minutes to two hours early just in case, though it rarely takes that long to get to the gate. Also, remember the 3-1-1 rule: that is 3 ounces or less in 1 quart container, and 1 container per passenger.
Back on the road, Trooper Barker said the worst of traffic on the interstate will be heading north of Madison, especially approaching the Wisconsin Dells, the destination for many travelers.
He said law enforcement will also be on the lookout for stranded vehicles, hoping to help get people to their destinations as smooth as possible so they can focus on what the holiday is really about.
“I did deploy to Afghanistan and I did have some fallen comrades so it’s a day of mourning, but I’m happy I got to know those gentlemen that I served,” Barker explained. “It’s a tough thing but it’s a thing I’m proud of.”