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Maine Turnpike: Thinking Ahead FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 05, 2011
Erin Courtney
513-2982
ecourtney@maineturnpike.com


July 4th Traffic Predicted to Decline

USM Researchers Say Gas Prices Have Not Eased Enough to Spur Travel

PORTLAND, Maine – Despite a 20-cent drop in gas prices since Memorial Day, Maine Turnpike traffic over the July 4th holiday weekend is still predicted to be down about 5.4% at the York Toll Plaza compared to last year’s volume. That means approximately 19,000 fewer vehicles will enter and exit the state via I-95 from Friday, July 1 through Monday, July 4.

The Maine Center for Business & Economic Research at the University of Southern Maine provided the Maine Turnpike Authority with the data, noting the projected traffic decline is a continuing trend. In May the Center predicted a 6% decline during Memorial Day Weekend; the final tally indicated a 5.1% dip.

According to the Center’s researchers, northbound traffic on Friday and Saturday will drop by 5.3% compared with 2010. Because Independence Day falls on Monday this year, the Center predicts southbound traffic on Sunday and Monday will decrease by nearly 15% as weekend visitors delay their departures until Tuesday. Additionally, the Monday holiday may also mean more people will be taking the entire week for vacation and may not leave until the following weekend, further skewing the year-to-year comparison.

“Though gas prices have eased about five percent since Memorial Day, it isn’t enough to have significantly altered travel patterns,” said the USM Center’s Dr. Charles Colgan. “Further gas price declines over the summer may mean that traffic volumes will pick up later in July and August and rebound close to 2010 levels.”

Despite the anticipated decline in volume, traffic at the Turnpike’s southern end will still be heavy at times, particularly between 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Friday (northbound) and from noon to 7:00 p.m. Monday (southbound). For traffic alerts, traffic cams or to sign up for e-mail alerts, visit MaineTurnpike.com.

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