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RACINE AND KENOSHA — Record numbers of travelers are expected this July 4 holiday weekend. Those travelers will see lower fuel prices and long lines at airports, according to experts at AAA and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT).

Source: AAA

AAA projects that a record 50.7 million people will journey 50 miles or more from home between June 29 and July 4. That tops the previous July 4 holiday weekend record of 49 million travelers set in 2019 and is a 2.1 million traveler increase compared to 2022.

AAA expects a record 43.2 million people will drive to their destinations, an increase of 2.4% over 2022 and 4% higher than 2019. This summer, gas prices are well below what they were one year ago.

Air travel is also expected to set a new record. AAA projects 4.17 million Americans will fly to their destinations over Independence Day weekend, an increase of 11.2% over 2022 and 6.6% over 2019. The previous July 4 weekend air travel record of 3.91 million travelers was set in 2019. The share of air travelers in the overall holiday forecast this year is an impressive 8.2% – the highest percentage in nearly 20 years.

Other modes of transportation are also on the rise this year. AAA expects 3.36 million people will travel by bus, cruise, or train over the long weekend, an increase of 24% over last year. While more travelers are turning to these modes this year, the number is not expected to surpass 2019’s total of 3.54 million.

Cheaper fuel this year

Motorists will find that it costs considerably less to fill up this holiday weekend than it did a year ago at this time.

As of Friday, AAA reported that the national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $3.54, down from $4.80 per gallon a year ago. The Wisconsin average price was $3.42 per gallon.

Racine and Kenosha drivers are seeing the same pattern, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge website. The average in the Racine area was $3.59 per gallon and stood at an average of $3.62 in Kenosha County on Friday. A year ago, the average price of regular unleaded was $4.76 and $4.74 in Racine and Kenosha, respectively.

The record high price of regular unleaded in Racine was $5.20 per gallon set on June 12, 2022, according to AAA statistics.

State highway projects paused for holiday travel

Most road construction projects throughout the state are paused for the July 4 holiday weekend starting Friday to minimize travel disruptions, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) reported.

The weekend’s projected peak travel times are:

  • Friday (June 30), between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday (July 4), from noon to 3 p.m.
  • Wednesday (July 5), from 3 to 6 p.m.

Locally, Highway 20 remains closed for long-term construction from Highway 36 to Highway 45 in Racine County. Motorists should use the posted detour via Highways 36/83, Highway 11 and Highway 45.

In Walworth County, single-lane closures are in effect on Highway 12 in both directions between Lake Geneva and Elkhorn.

WisDOT reminds travelers that real-time information on travel conditions, live traffic cameras, work zones and incidents can be found by:

Alerts and updates provided via these sites are not intended for use while driving. When driving, your focus should always be on the road ahead.​

Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...