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Best and worst times for Thanksgiving travel around Atlanta

Before the joyous Thanksgiving dinners, there will be the miserable, horrible traffic people have to sit in to get to their destination.

ATLANTA — Thanksgiving is just around the corner next Thursday, and folks all around Atlanta are preparing their getaway days to gather with family and friends.

Before those joyous Thanksgiving dinners, however, there will be the miserable, horrible traffic people have to sit in to get to their destination.

If you're looking for a way to soften that blow, the Georgia Department of Transportation has released some guidance ahead of the holiday.

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The state transit authority said it will be suspending lane closures for most road work on interstates and state routes between Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 5 a.m. and Sunday, Nov. 27 at 10 p.m.

They've also issued a handy graphic that also lays out when the best and worst times to hit the road are. Unsurprisingly, the day before Thanksgiving between the hours of noon and 6 p.m. is the worst time to get out the door - while Thanksgiving Day itself and Black Friday are the easiest days to travel.

You can also expect moderate traffic on the Monday and Tuesday ahead of Thanksgiving and on the Sunday after, as people make their way home.

Take a look at the 7-day travel forecast prepared by GDOT:

Credit: GDOT

For those traveling a little farther, GDOT offers this advice on major interstates outside metro Atlanta but in the broader region:

Additionally, historical Thanksgiving travel data from 2021 for major interstates outside of metro Atlanta have shown the following trends starting from the afternoon of Wednesday, November 23, 2022 to early evening of Sunday, November 27, 2022:

  • I-20 eastbound congestion on Wednesday, Nov. 23 heading into metro Atlanta; westbound congestion Sunday, Nov. 27 heading towards Alabama.
  • I-75 is predicted to have heavy congestion southbound and northbound coming out of Atlanta in Stockbridge.
  • I-85 congestion near the South Carolina and Alabama borders.
  • I-95 northbound congestion in Savannah.

And the agency added these general tips:

If you find yourself needing to travel during the week of Thanksgiving, keep the below travel time tips in mind before hitting the road.

  • The best time for travel is in the morning, before 10 am.
  • Traffic volumes begin to increase in the afternoon after 12 pm, when drivers are departing work early or finishing last-minute shopping lists.
  • If traveling in or around metro Atlanta on Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 23, plan to add 30-45 minutes to your travel time due to increased congestion between noon-6:00pm.


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