Nearly 1.2M in Mich. to travel for Memorial Day

Evan Carter
The Detroit News

Nearly 1.2 million Michiganians are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home during the Memorial Day weekend, up 2 percent over last year and the highest total since 2007, according to AAA Michigan.

Most of those travelers, more than 1 million, will reach their holiday destinations by car. Along the way, they’ll enjoy a break from some construction projects, plus relatively low gas prices despite a recent spike at the pump.

Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst with, said Michigan pump prices will average around $2.55 this weekend, 20 cents lower than a year ago.

DeHaan said due to total or partial oil refinery shutdowns around southeast Michigan, “the region is experiencing a tightening of supply,” leading Gov. Rick Snyder to loosen fuel transportation restrictions this week.

But DeHaan said he doesn’t expect gas shortages this weekend.

AAA Michigan projects nearly 60,000 people will fly during the long weekend, motivated by domestic air fares that average 26 percent below last year’s. AAA’s Leisure Travel Index says the average roundtrip ticket for the top 40 domestic flight routes nationally will cost $165.

Susan Hiltz, a spokeswoman for AAA Michigan, said cheaper gas prices and air fares make holiday travel more attractive.

“It makes it more economically viable for people to drive, visit people out of state, and take that trip they’ve been putting off,” she said.

A spokeswoman for the Wayne County Airport Authority says those traveling through Detroit Metropolitan Airport shouldn’t face undue waits to catch their flights.

Erica Donerson said Memorial Day isn’t one of Detroit Metro’s busiest holidays, and the airport isn’t experiencing long lines like the ones experienced by many fliers around the country.

Still, she advises travelers to arrive at the airport two hours before their flight’s scheduled departure. “If travelers get here early, they can enjoy our live music and shopping,” Donerson said.

Those traveling by car throughout the state also expect to see fewer lane closures as MDOT plans to suspend traffic restrictions on 86 of 123 projects from 3 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Among the projects where lane closures will remain in effect:

■I-75 Business Loop/M-72 in Grayling, Crawford County, is closed at the AuSable River bridge. Detour posted.

■U.S. 131 in Grand Rapids has one southbound lane closed between Ann and Leonard, and both the Ann ramp to southbound U.S. 131 and the southbound U.S. 131 ramp to Leonard are closed.

■I-75 in Saginaw County will have traffic shifted between Dixie Highway and Hess.

■I-75 in Monroe County has two lanes open in each direction with a traffic shift between I-275 and Dixie Highway.

■I-94 has all ramps closed at Trumbull, including the eastbound service drive.

■I-275 has all southbound lanes closed between the I-96/I-696 interchange and Five Mile.

A full list of construction and road closures can be found on the MDOT website or on the MI Drive app for iOS and Android.

According to the National Weather Service in White Lake, travelers can expect mostly good weather with highs in the 80s and a chance of isolated heavy showers throughout the state on Friday and scattered showers throughout the rest of the weekend.