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When and where is the worst Twin Cities traffic on Memorial Day weekend?

Memorial Day weekend could be busiest for travel in 20 years, AAA says
Memorial Day weekend could be busiest for travel in 20 years, AAA says 03:25

MINNEAPOLIS — AAA expects Memorial Day weekend 2024 to be the busiest for travel in nearly two decades, and Minnesotans seeking to live the lake life will surely contribute to that.

Minnesota's travelers will clog the interstates and back roads as they head north to cabin country or across the border to Wisconsin. Friday morning storms may play a role in how successful the earlier trips kick off.

According to AAA, the busiest route and time of the holiday weekend will be the return trip from Eau Claire to Minneapolis on Monday morning. Around 8:45 a.m., Interstate 94 westbound will likely be 38% more congested than normal, AAA estimates.

Many of the typical routes up north — highways 65 and 169 and Interstate 35 — will also likely be more choked than normal, both heading out of town before the weekend and returning afterward.

If you're driving out of town, AAA recommends leaving early in the morning or later in the evening, depending on what day you're heading out. On Thursday and Friday, it's best to leave before 11 a.m. or after 8 p.m., AAA said. When returning home, it's best to wait until after 7 p.m. on Monday.

Across the country, AAA expects nearly 44 million people to travel 50 miles or more over the Memorial Day weekend, a 4% increase from last year and nearly at the record-setting mark from 2005. Of those travelers, 38.4 million are expected to go by car.

MnDOT 511 and traffic cameras

Before you leave town, you can check live traffic reports from across the state on the Minnesota Department of Transportation's 511 website.

The site offers real-time looks at congestion, crashes and construction on Minnesota's many roads. It also allows you to view the state's hundreds of traffic cameras for a peek at what traffic actually looks like.

Traffic tips from MnDOT

Last Memorial Day, MnDOT offered the following tips for drivers who may encounter holiday traffic, particularly those traveling through construction zones:

  • Obey posted speed limits. 
  • Drive undistracted. 
  • Move over to give contsruction workers room to safely complete their work.
  • Know before you go by checking 511.
  • Be patient.
  • Do the zipper merge.
  • Avoid making unnecessary lane changes.
  • Never enter a road blocked with barriers or cones.
  • Expect work zones to constantly change.
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