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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Record holiday traffic expected

Forget bottle rockets bursting in air. This year’s Fourth of July fireworks could be on the highway.

AAA is predicting that this Fourth of July weekend will be the busiest travel weekend ever.

More than 40 million Americans are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home, and almost 34 million of them will be weekend road warriors traveling by car, truck or RV.

“What we’ve been seeing over this past year is that people are beginning to travel again, like they were before 2001,” said AAA Washington/Inland spokeswoman Janet Ray.

“I think it’s just a continued indication that the economy is improving, people want to travel and they’re doing it,” Ray said.

It isn’t because gas prices are low.

The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded in Spokane is $2.31, compared to $2.10 last year.

In Coeur d’Alene a gallon of regular unleaded costs $2.22, compared to $2.01 over the Fourth of July in 2004.

To put the prices into perspective, that trip from Spokane to Seattle and back will cost the driver of a 23-miles-per-gallon vehicle about $57 based on an average of statewide unleaded gas prices.

Two years ago you could have done it for $39.

That’s an increase, but only of $18, said Ray.

“People say, ‘I work all year. My vacation is worth it,’ ” she said.

If the gas prices still have you steaming, take heart. At least the Washington State Department of Transportation will be giving you a break.

Most construction work is going to be halted by noon Friday and won’t resume until Tuesday morning.

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