ODOT expects busy roads this Thanksgiving; travelers face high gas prices

PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — Drivers should expect the busiest roads since before the pandemic when traveling this Thanksgiving, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Don Hamilton with ODOT said that Thanksgiving is one of the busiest holidays for travel in Oregon, and the limitations on gatherings that kept people from traveling over the last few years are largely gone.

“Everything going in and out of the Portland area is going to be pretty busy,” Hamilton said. “That means the Gorge, up and over the Cascades and over the Coast Range as well.”

When it comes to gas prices, Marie Dodds with AAA said they have never been more expensive on Thanksgiving, but they are falling. Oregon is down $.20 in the last week. The current average is $4.56 a gallon.

In Washington, the average price is $4.60 a gallon, that’s down $.18 from last week. Last Thanksgiving, the average price in Washington was $3.88 and $3.80 in Oregon.

“People are traveling, we are seeing travel volume this year almost back to where it was before the pandemic,” Dodds said. “This year we will see the third highest travel volume on record, only behind 2005 and 2019.”

Even though gas prices are falling, drivers are still feeling the pain at the pump. Jada Yeater is heading back to Tacoma, Wash. to see her family.

“I haven’t been home in three months because of the gas prices,” Yeater said. “It’s so expensive.”

Cavan Mikami is a student in Portland that avoids driving because of the expense.

“I’ve just been keeping driving to a minimum and finding other ways to get around,” Mikami said. “Trying to stay in the city more so I don’t have a reason to leave.”

Dodds said she expects gas prices to continue to fall throughout this year.

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