KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The unofficial start to summer is finally here, and it means thousands will hit the road for the Memorial Day weekend.
AAA projects more than 36 million Americans will take a quick getaway. That makes this the second busiest memorial day travel weekend in nearly 15 years.
To West Virginians like Dean Gamble, it's about time for perfect weather and a weekend getaway.
"Very excited to finally get to do something in the beautiful weather and get out and go kayaking for the first time this year," Gamble said.
On Friday afternoon, travel centers across the region were already jam-packed with families eager to get on the road for a long memorial day weekend.
West Virginia Department of Transportation Official Carrie Bly said, "We saw last year that our transactions were down 1 point 25 percent, but AAA is predicting it's actually going to go up 1 point 5."
Toll booths help the DOH keep track of just how many people are on the road.
"We can predict that through the transactions," Bly said.
Last year, turnpike transactions showed 119,000 people on the road Thursday, 146,000 on Friday (with peak hours between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.) and 114,000 on Monday.
There is good news for travelers: the DOH says traffic may be the only thing standing in the way of getting to a destination on time.
"Anytime we have a holiday coming up, we try to make considerations to stop construction work," Bly said.
The DOH also suggests leaving Saturday morning to miss major traffic backups.