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Holiday Travel CNS-- The number of people hitting the road for Labor Day weekend is expected to be sharply down from last year, but Caltrans officials warned today that traffic will still likely be congested on the northbound Golden State (5) Freeway.
One northbound lane of the highway will be closed throughout the weekend near Templin Highway--about five miles north of Castaic--as work continues to stabilize storm-damaged slopes and repair the roadway.
Caltrans officials urged anyone planning to travel through the area to plan ahead and leave early, since traffic is expected to be heavy from Thursday through Monday.
On other roadways, traffic is expected to be lighter this holiday weekend, thanks to a combination of the sluggish economy and an unusually late Labor Day date, which traditionally lowers the number of people traveling because many schools are back in session, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.
About 2.94 million Southern Californians are expected to take trips this holiday weekend, down from 3.38 million last year. Of those people, 2.34 million people are expected to drive to their destinations.
"There's no doubt we are seeing the effects of the economy on holiday travel, but significant other factors are also playing a role in the downtown," said Auto Club spokesman Jeffrey Spring. "Even though airfares are 17 percent cheaper than they were a year ago, local air travel for Labor Day is projected to decline nearly 20 percent compared to last year--and much of that may be due to families who are reluctant to travel long distances after school has already started."
The top five destinations for Southern California travelers are expected to be Las Vegas, San Diego, San Francisco, the Central Coast and Yosemite, according to the Auto Club.