Holiday travel expected to jump this year

CHP maximum enforcement starts Friday
By: Jenifer Gee Journal News Editor
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While the weather this week has been less than summer-like, surveys predict that more people will travel this weekend to celebrate the kickoff to warmer temperatures. According to AAA, an estimated 4 million California residents are expected to travel 50 or more miles this weekend, which represents a 7.8 percent increase from 2009. “Despite a challenging economy, travel is expected to rebound for this Memorial Day,” Cynthia Harris, AAA Northern California spokesperson, said in a news release. Lynn Saunders, president and CEO of the Truckee-Donner Chamber of Commerce, said she expects to see a larger than normal weekend crowd over Memorial Day. “It’s the kickoff to summer and people are out and about looking for that vacation, relaxing, get-away experience,” Saunders said. Saunders said the Truckee area has plenty of activities to offer weekenders including hiking and bike riding trails, a few golf courses are now open and some of the meadows in the area are starting to spring wildflowers. “Even though we’ve had a prolonged winter, there are still a lot of things that you can enjoy in the fresh, clean mountain air,” Saunders said. Shonne Elgin, owner of Havalark Travel in Auburn, said she hasn’t had a large influx of people making travel plans for this weekend. “I think this holiday just snuck up on people,” Elgin said. Elgin suggested that cooler temperatures this week were partly to blame. According to the National Weather Service, this week the Auburn area saw 60-degree weather and showers, with that weather pattern predicted to last through Friday. Saturday and Sunday’s forecast predict sunnier, warmer weather in the mid-to-high 70s. Elgin said typically travelers make big plans for the 4th of July weekend and Labor Day. For this weekend, Elgin said trips to San Francisco or San Diego are good options for those seeking a nice, quick getaway. For those who will be heading out onto the road, the California Highway Patrol is alerting motorists that Friday evening marks the start of a weekend maximum enforcement period. The Memorial Day enforcement period starts 6 p.m. Friday and last through 11:59 p.m. Monday. During this time, officers from the Auburn Highway Patrol office as well as those from Gold Run, Grass Valley and Yuba-Sutter, will be out looking for high-speed and potentially impaired drivers. Targeted roadways include Interstate 80, Highway 49, Highway 65, Auburn Folsom and Baseline roads and Douglas Boulevard. Drivers and their passengers are also encouraged to buckle up. “Always make sure everyone in your vehicle is properly restrained in their seatbelt and child safety seat before you leave for your destination,” Bill Donovan, Auburn California Highway Patrol commander, said in a news release. “You will keep your loved ones safe during your travel on the roadways.” Reach Jenifer Gee at