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Heavy traffic expected in Las Vegas for Memorial Day weekend

With 330,000 people set to converge on Las Vegas this Memorial Day weekend, motorists can expect an influx of heavy traffic to accompany them.

With around 60 percent, or 198,000, of those visitors expected to drive into town for the three-day weekend, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, officials are urging motorists to prepare for increased congestion on valley roads.

“Heavy holiday traffic is expected during the Memorial Day weekend, especially around Downtown Las Vegas and the Strip resort corridor,” said Nevada Department of Transportation spokesman Tony Illia. “Consequently, we encourage motorists to budget additional drive time when making travel plans.”

NDOT encourages motorists to stay alert and minimize distractions while driving, to never drive impaired and to wear their safety belts.

INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, estimates drivers will experience the greatest congestion on Thursday and Friday in the late afternoon as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers.

Several major U.S. cities could experience double the travel times compared to a normal trip as a record 37.6 million people are expected to hit the roads this Memorial Day weekend, a testament to the strong economy, according to Sergio Avila, spokesperson for AAA Nevada.

“Americans are still enjoying solid job and income growth and that’s allowing families to spend that extra cash on travel,” Avila said.

Brian Hoeft, director of the Regional Transportation of Southern Nevada Freeway, said the return trip for many of those visitors who will head back to Southern California won’t be any better.

Hoeft said around a 20-mile backup can be expected Monday in Primm at the California-Nevada stateline.

“In Nevada, one of the worst traffic issues is the departure of tourists heading back to Southern California after a long weekend,” Avila said. “Nevadans know not to head south at that time but visitors who have no choice could get stuck in the horrendous heavy backup that occurs between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Drivers may consider longer but possibly quicker routes.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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