Memorial Day Weekend mass exodus begins as residents flee Tri-State Area

RIDGEFIELD, N.J. — Millions of people are traveling this Memorial Day Weekend.

Roads and highways in the Tri-State Area were bumper to bumper as drivers headed to their destinations.

CBS2 spoke to people on the roads and at the airports on Friday night.

The unofficial start to summer is here and Vietnam veteran Delores Hampton made it her business to fly in to spend time with her older sister.

“We’re just grateful to be here and grateful to see each other when we can,” said Hampton, of Atlanta.

At bustling Newark Liberty Airport, flights were steadily rolling in and out. Air travel across the country this weekend will be one of the busiest in years, with a post-pandemic record of nearly 3.4 million passengers. One couple from Nebraska was cutting it close but still made their flight here with no issues.

“I think we got to the airport 30 minutes before our flight took off, so we got through security, no issue at all out of Omaha,” Mark Faubion said.

Outside, tires were hitting the pavement. Al Williams didn’t find much traffic leaving New Hampshire. He made a quick stop at the Vince Lombardi Service Area to load up on snacks.

“Now, I’m jumping on the highway about to go down to Virginia to pick up the wife, then Charlotte, Virginia for a wedding for Memorial Day,” said Williams, who hails from Springfield, Massachusetts.

With an estimated 37 million people driving this weekend, others weren’t so lucky.

“This weekend is always crazy getting out of the city,” said Elin Waring of the Bronx.

“It has been bad. There has been a lot of traffic,” added Luisa Ceballos of Connecticut.

Ceballos and her daughter’s soccer team were heading to a tournament in Philadelphia.

“They were all prepared and ready. They were singing the whole ride,” Ceballos said.

Some heading to Montauk for the weekend packed into Long Island Rail Road trains. Additional trains have been added to the schedule to accommodate holiday travel and beach traffic.

“It’s the best way to get out east. You don’t have to sit in traffic. Have a great ride, great weekend all weekend long,” the MTA’s Catherine Rinaldi said.

Those driving said they will try to plan around traffic for their return trip.

Even with so many people leaving town, law enforcement will be on high alert through Tuesday. Officers will be keeping an eye out for impaired drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

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