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About 300K expected to visit Las Vegas for July 4th

Travelers headed to Las Vegas don’t appear to be deterred by the fact that Independence Day falls on a Wednesday.

National trends show they’re turning the midweek holiday into a six-day weekend scheduled to begin on Tuesday, according to projections from AAA and others.

Roughly 300,000 people are expected to visit Las Vegas from Tuesday to Sunday, and more than half of them are expected to drive into town, said Tony Illia, a spokesman for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

Although no major freeway closures are planned, Illia said the heaviest traffic will be along Interstate 15, U.S. Highway 95, the Strip and the area surrounding Primm near the California border.

More than 785,500 airline passengers will depart or arrive from McCarran International Airport during the lengthy six-day holiday travel week, with July 8 expected to be the busiest day, airport spokeswoman Christine Crews said. Fireworks, snap caps and other items associated with Independence Day celebrations are not allowed past the airport security checkpoints, Crews said.

Also, locals planning to park at the airport should keep in mind that the garage for Terminal 1 reaches capacity almost daily because of a maintenance project and increased demand for air travel, Crews said. Motorists should consider parking in the economy lot or find another way to get to the airport.

Buses across the region will operate on a Saturday schedule on Independence Day, according to officials with the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada. Rather than driving, RTC officials recommended that locals and tourists catch a bus to fireworks shows and parades.

Nationally, AAA forecasts that a record 46.9 million people will journey 50 miles or more away from home for Independence Day — a 5 percent jump from last year, and potentially the most traveled holiday weekend ever, said Mike Blasky, a spokesman for AAA Nevada.

“Fourth of July is typically the busiest summer travel holiday, but this year is an all-time whopper,” Blasky said. “Despite the highest gas prices in four years, more drivers will be taking to the road to celebrate America’s birthday than ever.”

About 80 percent of holiday travelers will drive to their destinations, despite higher gas prices nationally and in Nevada. However, airline passengers are paying an average $171 for a round-trip flight, marking a 9 percent drop from last year and the lowest Independence Day airfares in five years, Blasky said.

Contact Art Marroquin at amarroquin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Follow @AMarroquin_LV on Twitter.

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