Tips for your Memorial Day travel - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Tips for your Memorial Day travel

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BLACK HAWK COUNTY (KWWL) -

AAA predicts nearly 35 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home during this Memorial Day weekend.  In Iowa, you might run into delays on the roads due to several major construction projects.

Ron Leonard and his wife are motoring from Illinois to Woodbine, Iowa to attend their 60th class reunion.  The Leonards left home early in hopes of avoiding heavy traffic over the holiday weekend.

"So far, knock on wood, we get along fine," said Leonard.

Like many out-of-state drivers, Leonard is filling his tank in Iowa, since gas in the state is actually a bit cheaper right now than neighboring states.

"In Illinois, our gas tax is about 20 cents higher than Iowa.  So I waited until I got to Waterloo so I'd have enough gas to get to western Iowa," Leonard said.

This weekend, construction zones statewide will be a headache for a lot of drivers. 

"There obviously could be changing traffic patterns, lane reductions, reduced speed limits.  So just pay attention and slow down," said Pete Hjelmstad with the Iowa Department of Transportation.

Dana Schmid says Iowa work zones haven't been a big problem for him, but he's already thinking about alternate routes for the rest of his trip. 

"We're going down to Cincinnati for my granddaughter's graduation.  We're going to try to avoid Indianapolis if we can, so we'll probably find a bypass around," Schmid of Sioux Falls, South Dakota said.

To find the best alternate routes, you can call 511, or head to www.511ia.org.  On the site, you can actually punch in where you're heading, and maps will indicate where construction is happening and if roads along your path are closed.  That way, you can plan your route around those areas.

In addition to taking it easy in work zones, the state patrol urges you to wear your seat belt, don't drink & drive, or use your cell phone while at the wheel.

"We're relying on people that are driving out there to do what they're supposed to--police themselves.  We can't be everywhere.  But we're doing our best, and we're going to have extra people out there," said Trooper Mark Sigwarth with the Iowa State Patrol.

Hopefully that will lead to a safe holiday weekend on the highways for everyone.

If you're traveling or boating this holiday weekend, you will be paying less to gas up your boats and cars than last year.  The national average for a gallon of unleaded now sits at $3.68, compared to $3.81 a year ago.

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