Memorial Day Travel Expected To Be Up, But Help Is At Drivers’ Fingertips

ARKANSAS (KFSM) -- Many Americans are expected to hit the road for the holiday, and a website will make it easier for those travelers to navigate through Arkansas.

AA projects 41.5 million Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend and through Monday, a 5 percent increase over last year.

The unofficial start to summer often starts with a lot of travel.

"We're going to the Little Red River and go fishing," said R.J. George. He and his daughter Aleta Ford are some of those hitting the road this weekend. The pair reported no hangups as of Thursday afternoon.

"It doesn't seem to be too bad, and the roads have been really good," he said.

That doesn't mean it will always be smooth sailing.

"You've got folks in Northwest Arkansas going to other states, and you have folks in other states driving in here to Arkansas," said Danny Straessle of the Arkansas Department of Transportation. "So you have somewhat of a swap of traffic. You also have the folks that are traveling through Arkansas on Interstate 40 and Interstate 30 as well."

The department offers a tool to help within its iDriveArkansas website and app. The feature, "Alternate Routes," is available in the smartphone app. It can help drivers reroute around trouble areas, such as construction.

"We've done all the figuring for you," Straessle said. "You travel out of your normal area, you don't really know where there is a good place to get off the interstate t go around and get back on."

As for George and his daughter, they believe their bond is strong enough to withstand the test of holiday traffic.

"Oh, it's always fun," Ford said. "Especially when my dad gets to ride in the car with me, because I hear all sorts of stories that I haven't heard before."

For those who do plan to drive during peak travel time, Straessle said it's best to leave earlier than normal. He also reminds people to be courteous and to follow the rules of the road.