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Memorial Day weekend guide to travel, weather and events

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News
A group of boys toss a football around while splashing in the Detroit River at Belle Isle on a 90-degree day in Detroit  on Sunday, September 24, 2017.



AAA predicts nearly 1.3 million Michiganders will travel during the holiday — 90 percent traveling by car. This year's prediction is the highest number of motoring travelers expected since 2005.

With so many planning to be on the road, AAA encourages motorists to have a safe weekend and offers Tow-To-Go to keep impaired drivers off roadways. Tow-To-Go is a free service taking the vehicle and the driver home, available Friday through 6 a.m. on Tuesday. 

“Everyone deserves to have a safe Memorial Day weekend. We urge travelers to make arrangements for safe transportation and to avoid driving impaired,” said  Susan Hiltz, Michigan public affairs director for AAA.

Gas Prices

Gas prices are expected to rise along with temperatures. This year, AAA predicts 37 million Americans will drive to their destination with an average gas price hovering near $3 a gallon. 

Most in Michigan will travel 50 miles or more from home during the weekend, a 5 percent increase from the 2017 holiday and the most in a decade.

Dearborn-based AAA Michigan said late Sunday that the average price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline is about 52 cents more than at the same point last year. Last week, AAA announced that the statewide average topped $3 per gallon for the first time in nearly three years.

Michigan’s lowest average price was about $2.90 in the Traverse City area. The highest was about $3.05 in the Ann Arbor area.

The Detroit-area’s average was about $3.01, up about 7 cents per gallon.

“Higher gas prices will not be enough to keep travelers home this Memorial Day weekend,” said Vicky Evans, AAA Travel Sales Development Assistant Vice President. “A strong economy and growing consumer confidence are giving Americans all the motivation they need to kick off what we expect to be a busy summer travel season with a Memorial Day getaway.”

USA National Gas Price Heat Map -

Traffic and Road Closures

Expect travel delays on major roads to be three times longer than normal, with the busiest days being on Friday, as commuters mix with holiday travelers.

The Michigan Department of Transportation is suspending work and lifting traffic restrictions in 73 percent of its road and bridge projects to ease congestion and increase safety. 

The suspension is expected to last through 6 a.m. Tuesday. Equipment and certain traffic configurations, like temporary shifts or shoulder closures, may remain in place. 

In 2017, there were 4,204 work zone crashes in Michigan - down from 4,994 in 2016 - with 25 dead and 73 seriously injured, MDOT officials said. 

Metro Detroit closures 

  • 14th Street is closed over I-75 for bridge work.
  • I-75 has three northbound lanes open and one southbound lane open between Springwells Street and Clark Street.
  •  I-75 ramps to and from Rosa Parks Boulevard remain closed for bridge work.
  •  I-94 has all ramps closed at M-3 for bridge work.
  •  I-94 has the exits to Chene Avenue closed for bridge work. Chene Avenue is closed over I-94.
  •  M-3 (Gratiot Avenue) has two northbound lanes open and one southbound lane open over I-94 for bridge work.

Macomb County closures 

  •  I-696 has all westbound lanes closed from I-94 to Dequindre Road for reconstruction.
  • M-59 (Hall Road) has three westbound lanes open with traffic shifted from Romeo Plank Road to Garfield Road.
  •  M-59 (Hall Road) will have three eastbound lanes open from Hayes Road to Garfield Road.

Oakland County closures

  •  M-5 has shoulder closures at Maple Road.

Wayne County closures 

  •  I-75 has all southbound lanes closed from Springwells Street to the US-24 (Telegraph Road) connector for bridge work.


Temperatures are expected to be around 80 degrees this weekend. 

According to the National Weather Service, temperatures for Friday and Saturday will be in the 80s with the heat rising to near 90 on both Sunday and Monday.

Still, the weather service cautions, there is a 35 percent chance for afternoon showers on Saturday and Sunday. Expect humidity to spike, too, weather gurus say.






Beaches nearby 

  • Belle Isle Beach  5 a.m. - 10 p.m.
  • Empire Beach on Lake Michigan in the village of Empire - visit the Asparagus Festival Friday and Saturday 
  • Grand Haven State Park Beach 
  • Martindale Beach on Kent Lake in Kensington Metropark in Milford 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Sleeping Bear Point Beach on Lake Michigan 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Pere Marquette Beach on Lake Michigan in Muskegon 5 a.m. -11 p.m. 
  • Twelvemile Beach on Lake Superior in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore near Munising.
  • Stearns Park Beach on Lake Michigan in Ludington
  • Laketown Beach on Lake Michigan in Holland State Park