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People are spreading out their holiday travel more, but Maine roads will still be busy this week

ODD Vanity Plates
Robert F. Bukaty
FILE - In this Feb. 2011 file photo, traffic approaches Maine Turnpike toll booths in Gardiner, Maine. A Maine law banning obscene license plates goes into effect Monday, Oct. 18, 2021, but getting the foul language off the roads and highways won't happen overnight.

At Portland International Jetport, Thanksgiving holiday travel has already begun.

Jetport Manager Paul Bradbury says, "With the advent of remote work, this post-pandemic opportunity, people can spread out their travel." Which, at a time when the air traffic system is strained by a lack of pilots, may be a good thing.

Bradbury calls it having a "buffer," because "planes will be full. So there won't necessarily be another opportunity to get out." But Bradbury adds, "on the bright side, weather looks good."

Unlike in some cities, people wanting to fly to or from Portland probably found flights they could take. Bradbury says the airport has 12% more seats this month than last November and passenger traffic remains down 4.6% from November 2019.

The Maine Turnpike is expecting traffic to be about the same as last year, when toll collection points recorded about 985,000 transactions. While spokeswoman Erin Courtney says the highway, too, is seeing holiday traffic spread out, there will still be a lot of cars coming north Wednesday afternoon, maybe heavier traffic on Thanksgiving morning and a southbound rush on Sunday afternoon

The Maine Bureau of Highway Safety says it wants Mainers to be safe, "Whether you're driving ten minutes to the Thanksgiving dinner table, or ten hours."

The Bureau's director, Lauren Stewart, reminds drivers to buckle up. She also wants people to be wary of driving after drinking, or using marijuana or other drugs that can cause impairment.