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When are the best times to travel for Thanksgiving in East Tenn.?

A Tennessee Department of Transportation Spokesperson said patience is key when you’re on the road this holiday season.
Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 6:29 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Whether you’re staying put or traveling, you’ve probably noticed more people on the roads for Thanksgiving holiday travel.

A Tennessee Department of Transportation Spokesperson said patience is key when you’re on the road this time of year.

Mark Nagi, a TDOT spokesperson, said the best times to drive are early morning and late evenings. That’s around 4, 5 and 6 a.m. or 7, 8, and 9 p.m. While you may not have the sun out, your chances of hitting traffic are much lower because you’re either beating rush hour or driving after it’s over.

“The best thing that you can do is to leave for your destination early because sometimes you’re never really sure when those traffic backups are going to occur,” said Nagi.

If you’re flying, get to McGhee Tyson at least two hours in advance to park, check in, check your bags and get through security. A lot of airlines want people at the gate ready to board 30 minutes before that scheduled departure time, according to Becky Huckaby, the airport spokesperson.

“We’re anticipating pre-pandemic levels for the next week or so just based on estimates. And we anticipate that that may grow a little bit with last minute decisions by people,” said Huckaby.

For drivers, something else to be aware of is the North Carolina Department of Transportation bridge work that’s happening at mile marker 7 just over the Tennessee line. It’s created traffic delays in each direction on I-40.

You can use alternate routes of I-81 or I-26.

If you are staying in Tennessee TDOT is halting lane closure activities on Wednesday beginning at noon until midnight Sunday.

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