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1.4 million people to fly through Chicago for Labor Day weekend

The Illinois Tollway expects about 8 million vehicles to pass through the 294-mile system between Friday and Tuesday.

A plane prepares to land at O’Hare.
About 1.4 million people are expected to fly in and out of Chicago’s airports over the Labor Day weekend.
Sun-Times file photo

As summer comes to a close and Chicagoans do everything they can to soak up the last few weeks of sun, 1.4 million people are expected to fly in and out of the city’s airports over the long Labor Day weekend.

Airlines expect 1.1 million people to fly through O’Hare and 292,000 to fly through Midway between Thursday and Monday, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.

Friday will be the busiest travel day of the four-day period, with O’Hare expected to see 263,932 passengers while Midway expects 59,704.

The Illinois Tollway expects about 8 million vehicles to pass through the 294-mile system Friday through Tuesday, Sept. 3. The heaviest traffic is anticipated on Friday when almost 2 million cars are expected to be on the road.

The tollway will suspend most temporary maintenance and construction in anticipation of the influx of drivers, according to a news release.

Good news for people traveling by car: AAA predicts that gas prices across the country are set to be the lowest they have been in a few years.

AAA estimates the average price of gas in the U.S. at $2.60 per gallon, 24 cents lower than last year and 4 cents lower than Labor Day 2017.

The average gas price in Chicago as of Aug. 27 was $2.95 per gallon, about 12 cents less than last year, according to GasBuddy.com, a tech company that tracks fuel prices.

“Strong U.S. oil production rates are holding oil prices about 15% below last year’s levels, effectively reducing the price of producing gasoline,” AAA spokesman Nick Jarmusz said in a news release. “Gas prices should remain low heading into the holiday, unless something unexpected threatens fuel supplies, like geopolitical tensions or a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Patrick DeHaan, the head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.com, said gas prices tend to trail off in the last couple of months in the summer as they did this year, so a reduction in gas prices for the holiday isn’t unusual.

“For anyone hitting the road this weekend, with Illinois having raised its gas tax, there are certainly a wide variety of prices depending on where you are, which should certainly encourage motorists to shop for those lower prices,” DeHaan said.