Travelers pack roads, rails, skies after holiday weekend

By: Andy Jenks - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The rush to return home is on as millions of travelers criss-cross the region by plane, train, or automobile.

It's been a long two days for Chuck Heazel, who says the obvious about the Interstates.

"I-95 North is going to be a real pain," he said. "We bailed at Petersburg and we'll just kind of come up the back roads and get as far away from 95 as we can."

Chuck's on the way from Miami to Leesburg, while Dave and Janet Wade head toward Saint Louis.

"It's been pretty good, we can't complain," Dave said. "A little traffic around Richmond, but that's all we've seen so far."

AAA estimated more than 40 million Americans would be traveling this weekend. If not by road, then perhaps by rail. Cold, but otherwise cooperative weather no doubt kept the Amtrak trains running mostly on schedule.

"So I was a bit nervous and kind of scared doing it," said student Leondra Ewing heading back to college. "But it was pretty cool. It went pretty smooth."

Fliers had the usual concerns about long lines and overly excessive pat downs. But at RIC, neither were a factor by mid-afternoon. Small crowds were seen at the gate, and, at baggage claim where the University of Richmond basketball team collected its hardware after beating the #10 team in the country (Purdue) Saturday night.

ANDY: "So who has the better hands-on defense, Purdue or the TSA?"

JUSTIN HARPER: "Ha ha...that's a tough one. That's a tough one. Probably about even."

Overall, this holiday homecoming gets high marks from a small sample of travelers. And if there are some headaches yet to come, maybe this advice will ease the pain.

"Chill," said Chuck Heazel. "You'll get there eventually."

Of the 40 million Americans estimated to be traveling, AAA says 1.2 million of them are Virginians. Most of them are expected to be using the highways and it's expected that traffic on I-95 will remain heavy through the evening.

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