CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The West Virginia Department of Transportation says this year the West Virginia Turnpike saw its heaviest Fourth of July holiday season traffic since 2010.
Officials say 668,004 vehicles passed through the Turnpike’s toll booths between Thursday, July 1, and Monday, July 5. The WVDOT says because the Fourth of July falls on different days of the week each year, the West Virginia Parkways Authority looks at the five days surrounding the holiday to determine the traffic counts.
“It was a huge Fourth of July period. People are just ready to get out and travel,” said Jeff Miller, executive director of the West Virginia Parkways Authority. “The Fourth fell on a weekend, and a lot of people had Monday off.”
Despite the Fourth falling on a Saturday last year, overall travel numbers for the five-day holiday travel period were more than 28% higher than for July 4, 2020.
“Last year’s travel was severely affected by the pandemic,” Miller said.
According to Miller, many travelers went on vacation the weekend before the Fourth of July, and came home the weekend after. He says more than 1.12 million vehicles used the Turnpike between Sunday, June 27 and Monday, July 5.
Miller also says that even with high traffic volumes, travelers were only affected by “scattered, minor delays.” He said the WV Parkways Authority posted flaggers in toll areas to help direct traffic, worked extra shifts and coordinated with the West Virginia State Police and the state’s Courtesy Patrol in an effort to make the drive the “safest, fastest experience possible”
“Everyone was ready for it,” Miller said. “We didn’t really have any significant backups.”
Although the Fourth of July travel season is now ending, the WVDOT is reminding drivers to keep everyone safe in work zones and on the road by keeping “Heads up; phones down!”