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AAA predicts the most Labor Day weekend travelers since 2008

More than 35 million Americans are planning a Labor Day getaway -- the greatest number of travelers for the September holiday since 2008 -- and most of them will be driving, according to the AAA.

AAA Northeast's recent getaway forecast said the 35.5 million expected to travel 50 miles or more for the extended weekend marks a 1 percent increase from last year. Of those, 86 percent are expected to drive, AAA Northeast said.

Starting Thursday and through Monday -- which AAA Northeast defines as the holiday travel period -- about 2.64 million will fly, and another 2.42 million will travel by some other means including train, bus or boat.

"Cheap gas, strong new vehicle sales and an improved household economy continue to motivate travelers to take a trip, continuing the strong road travel in a year that has seen Americans drive more than three trillion miles," said Robert Sinclair Jr., a spokesman for AAA Northeast, New York region, in Garden City.

Gasoline nationwide averages $2.53 a gallon, 90 cents cheaper than this period a year ago, and the lowest for the holiday since $1.85 in 2004.

Across Nassau and Suffolk counties the average price per gallon, according to the service that tracks retail fuel prices, is $2.61, more than $1 cheaper than in 2014.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has suspended all state road and bridge construction projects with temporary lane closures between 6 a.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Tuesday, according to the governor's office. State transportation officials said the decision was made to minimize road congestion.

The Port Authority will also fully staff all toll booths and halt Bayonne Bridge construction between 5 a.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Tuesday, according to a release. Officials expect to see 2.6 million vehicles pass through the Port Authority's four interstate bridges and two tunnels.

The weekend weather forecast should be pleasant and dry with good driving conditions, said Brian Ciemnecki, an Upton-based meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "We're looking at a dry weekend all the way through," he said.

Friday's skies may be cloudy, but Saturday, Sunday and Monday are expected to be sunny, he said. Temperatures will remain around the upper 70s for the first half of the weekend and then climb on Sunday, reaching the mid- or upper 80s on Monday.

For those traveling by train, the Long Island Rail Road is offering 10 extra afternoon trains departing Penn Station Friday.

A Port Authority spokeswoman said officials anticipate a 1.1 percent increase in passengers at Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airports over last year's holiday weekend. About 1.72 million passengers are expected to fly in and out between Friday and Tuesday, and officials cautioned travelers who plan to park at LaGuardia to allow extra time to find a space.

Some of the top spots for Labor Day vacationers include Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Orlando, Florida; Virginia Beach, Virginia; and Washington, D.C., AAA Northeast said.

Travelers can sign up for the Port Authority's airport alerts service or download the 511NY app to keep track of area traffic and delays.

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