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CHICAGO (CBS) — Near-record high gas prices will greet Labor Day weekend travelers as they hit the road.
As CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports, road travelers can expect a massive police presence, a suspension of construction projects, and stop-and-go traffic. But the sticker shock at the gas pump will likely cause the greatest alarm.
Some of the more than 31 million people across the country traveling 50 or more miles this holiday weekend took to the roads early on Friday.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports
CBS 2 found travelers headed to Brownsville, Duluth, and International Falls, Minn.
And they’re all traveling at a time when gas prices are the second highest they have ever been for a Labor Day weekend. In the Chicago area, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $3.99 per gallon.
“It’s been up around $4 a gallon for a while now here in Chicago,” said Brad Hrujsa of Chicago, “and I’m kind of sick of paying that much.”
For some people, it’s enough to turn a vacation into a stay-cation.
“Gas is too high,” said Tiffany Johnson.
But as bad as the prices are on the ground they’re even worse in the air.
Iwona Grzebienarz drove in from Colorado, and says she might have flown if airfares had been cheaper. But even at $4 per gallon, it’s still cheaper to drive.
And she’s not alone. AAA Chicago 87 percent of holiday travelers are driving this year – up 3 percent from last year.
“We’re using our student loan money to pay for gas,” said Lauren Schlueter of Dubuque, Iowa. “It’s very brutal.”
“Our focus will target the fatal four – impaired driving, speeders, seat belt violators, and distracted driving,” said State Police Lt. Paul Riggio. There will be 300 checkpoints statewide, most of them in Chicago and the suburbs.
Last year during Labor Day weekend, State Police issued 6,500 citations for those four infractions alone. That number may balloon this year with the increased patrols.