Traveling in the D.C. area may be smoother this Thanksgiving

Max Smith,

WASHINGTON – There are some good signs for travelers in our area, who will be heading out-of-town this week for Thanksgiving.

In addition to the 495 Express Lanes opening this weekend, Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport reopened one of its primary commercial runways Friday afternoon. The runway was closed more than 60 days for a reconstruction project.

BWI Executive Director Paul Wiedefeld says the runway will help prevent delays and provides more traffic pattern options during bad weather.

BWI also joined Reagan National and Dulles airports this week in the TSA Pre-Check program. The program allows registered frequent fliers and travelers to speed through security if they are travelling on one of the participating airlines, including US Airways, Alaska, American, Delta, and United Airlines.

This year, the crowds at local airports may be smaller than the crowds around Thanksgiving last year. AAA MidAtlantic projects that 74,900 people from the D.C. area will fly this year, which is a 1.1 percent decrease from 2011.

AAA also estimates about 1,074,500 people who live in the D.C. area are expected travel 50 miles or more from home, which is a 1.3 percent increase from last year. Of those travelers, 977,600 are expected to drive, also up 1.3 percent from 2011.

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