Officials say weather, traffic could affect holiday travel

COLUMBIA, Mo. - According to AAA, 40 million people will hit the roads this Thanksgiving holiday. Many others will take to the skies.

However people are getting to their destinations, MoDOT officials and the Columbia Public Works Department is telling people to build extra time into their travel schedules.

The wintry weather in some locations could could pose challenges.

"People need to pay attention to the forecast, not only locally, but at their destination as well," said Steve Sapp with Columbia Public Works.

And that doesn't just apply to those traveling on the road.

"If you're flying this weekend, the weather in Columbia can be very nice, but if at your destination it's poor, your flight may be delayed or it could be cancelled," Sapp said.

Most road construction will be halted for the holiday, so projects won't cause any further traffic delays.

"For the most part, lanes will be open," said Randy Aulbur with MoDOT.

Aulbur said the travel map on the website can be helpful for those driving across the state.

"It'll tell you about road conditions out there, and that way if there is some adverse weather, it'll let you see your route," he said.

Other officials also encourage drivers to be prepared in case of mechanical problems or any other issues that could happen with a car.

"If you're going to be on the road, we always encourage this time of year people have a winter weather survival kit in the trunk of their vehicle," Sapp said. "That includes things like drinking water, extra blankets, road flares, a snow shovel and so forth."

When it comes to flying, Sapp said communication and having a flexible travel plan are key.

"Keeping in touch with the weather at your destination, keeping in touch with your airline and planning on contingency if your flight is delayed or canceled are three critical things we encourage air travelers to do," he said.

MoDOT officials said patience and safety are important, especially on the roads. They said traffic and unfavorable weather conditions increase the risk of accidents.

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