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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Labor Day Traffic Forecast: Your Roadtrip Won't Be That Congested

Posted By on Wed, Aug 29, 2012 at 1:43 PM

More frustrating than skyrocketing gas prices
  • More frustrating than skyrocketing gas prices
If ever there was a silver lining to high gas prices, this just might be it: no traffic.

Well, okay, that might be hyperbolic, but we can at least assure you that this Labor Day weekend the roads won't be any more clogged than what you've already grown accustomed to in San Francisco.

While San Francisco has been ranked the third-most congested city in the U.S., traffic is expected to ease this holiday weekend, when our fair city will only be the sixth worst place for road-tripping, according to INRIX, a company that provides real-time traffic updates.

"We're predicting less delays resulting from fewer travelers leaving town for Labor Day compared to other cities," said Jim Bak, INRIX director of Community Relations. "For those who are traveling, traffic will mirror a typical Friday rush hour."

Here's the Bay Area traffic breakdown.

  • You'll want to skedaddle from the city late Friday night or before noon on Saturday. Traffic will be worst on both days between 4 and 5 p.m;
  • Sausalito's weekend Art Festival means the speed limits will linger around 20 mph on the Golden Gate Bridge;
  • Vacationers headed to Napa should prepare for minor delays; budget an extra 15 minutes for travel time;
  • Drivers on I-80 East will probably be crawling across the Bay Bridge at 15 mph. Work on the Dumbarton Bridge may also cause some delays.

And here are specific destination route suggestions:

  • SF to Reno/Lake Tahoe: I-80E time with traffic 4 hours, 44 minutes; brace yourself around Sacramento;
  • SF to Napa: I-80E time with traffic 1 hour, 18 minutes; delays over Bay Bridge and in Vallejo;
  • SF to Monterey: Route 101 (2 hours, 44 minutes) or Highway 1 (2 hours, 42 minutes). Remember to check weather conditions if you take Highway 1.

And watch out for cops, who will saturate the roadways as part of their 18-day crackdown on drunk drivers. To help keep intoxicated drivers from ruining everyone's fun, AAA is providing its usual Tipsy Tow Program, offering to haul those drunkards -- and their cars --  all the way home from 6 p.m. on  Sept. 3 to 6 a.m. on Sept. 4.

Or you can just do as we plan to -- fully take the "labor" out of Labor Day weekend and sit on the couch at home.

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Suzanne Stathatos


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