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Turnpike Traffic Predicted to Drop 6% Over Labor Day Weekend

Maine Turnpike: Thinking Ahead FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 01, 2011
Erin Courtney
CONTACT: Dan Morin (MTA)

Turnpike Traffic Predicted to Drop 6% Over Labor Day Weekend

USM Researchers List Hurricane Irene & Weak Economy Among Causes

PORTLAND, Maine – Predictions indicate a 6% drop in north- and southbound Turnpike traffic at the York Toll Plaza from Friday through Monday compared to last year’s Labor Day Weekend. Still, more than a quarter-million vehicles are expected to pass through the York toll during the four-day weekend.

The Maine Center for Business & Economic Research at the University of Southern Maine projects that overall traffic at the York Toll Plaza will total 228,700 vehicles from Friday, September 2 through Monday, September 5, marking a 6% decline from 243,300 vehicles in 2010.

According to the Center’s researchers, a weak economy this quarter, continued high gas prices and disruptions caused by Hurricane Irene are among the causes for the projected traffic decline. Additionally, with Labor Day falling later than usual on the calendar, many schools have already opened, thus reducing the holiday’s typical “end of summer” effect.

“This isn’t a big change relative to last year,” said the USM Center’s Dr. Charles Colgan. “Actually, given all these factors, the drop in traffic is probably a little less than one would expect.”

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.