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Your One-Stop Prep Manual for Holiday Weekend Travel

Traffic could be busiest on Sunday, as gun deer season comes to a close.

A few significant road construction projects present the promise of slower traffic over the busy Thanksgiving weekend. Be prepared in order to make the best of it.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, here are some of the more significant projects that could impact the trip to grandma’s house:

  • The two right lanes of I-94 West (northbound) in Kenosha County are closed from County C to state Highway 158. The left lane (southbound) is closed between Highway 158 and state Highway 50.
  • The Mitchell Interchange (I-43/894 eastbound to I-43/94 northbound) system ramp is closed.
  • 13 miles of U.S. Highway 41 northbound and southbound between U.S. Highway 45 to Breezewood in Winnebago County has 11-foot wide lanes and restricted shoulders.
  • 6 miles of U.S. Highway 41 northbound and southbound between County Highway G and state Highway 29 in Brown County has 11-foot lanes and restricted shoulders.

Those who are staying in Milwaukee in order to bring Black Friday to its knees should note these two sticky spots:

  • U.S. Highway 18 (Bluemound Road) from 124th Street to Mayfair Road, city of Wauwatosa. Traffic in both directions will remain on the outside lanes until approximately Thanksgiving.
  • U.S. Highway 18 (Bluemound Road) from Moorland Road to 124th Street. Two lanes of traffic in each direction will be maintained. Right in/right outs will be maintained for the duration of the project, except as required to facilitate construction.

Weather should not slow you much, as highs are expected mostly in the 50s in southeastern Wisconsin, with chances of just light rain. More challenging could be the expected heavy traffic on Sunday, when the gun deer season also wraps up and hunters are on their way home.

Highways should be slightly more congested this year, according to AAA Wisconsin. The organization estimates there will be 853,000 travelers during the extended weekend, about 4 percent more than last year. Of those, about 90 percent will travel by auto.

Going Out of State?

If you plan to navigate the travel hell known as Chicagoland, find construction and road condition maps provided by the Illinois Department of Transportation. For now, it seems I-294 is relatively construction-free.

On the other hand, if you're going to spend Turkey Day watching the Packers whip up on the Lions at Ford Field, you'll need directions to the stadium and a map of current construction from the Michigan Department of Transporation, for which there's also a mobile app. (You'll also need a ticket. There are more than 3,000 left on StubHub, but the cheapest standing-room ticket is $67.)

Technology for Better Travel

Taking the whole clan cross country no longer requires unwieldy folding maps or blind guesses about the best places to stop. Before you leave this year, prepare yourself digitally.

511: Wisconsin travel information, featuring updated road conditions, is available by dialing 511 from your cell phone or via text message. It’s a service of the Wisconsin DOT.

Fuel Cost Finder: AAA has an online fuel cost finder, and there also are plenty of gas price finder applications for smart phones.

Help Call: This iPhone app allows you to call local emergency numbers from wherever you are in the country, or in the world. It costs 99 cents.

Foodspotting: You won’t want to eat only turkey, so this free iPhone app allows you to find and rate dishes, instead of restaurants.

Trapster: Far be it from us to suggest a need for it, but this iPad application sends you an alert as you approach speed traps and speed cameras. It’s also free.

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