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Archive for Friday, September 3, 1999

MILLIONS TO HIT THE ROAD

September 3, 1999

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A near-record number of travelers is expected this holiday weekend. Thousands of campers are expected at area lakes.

Both the Kansas Highway Patrol and the American Automobile Assn. expect this holiday weekend to be a busy one for travelers.

The AAA estimates that 34.8 million Americans will travel 100 miles or more this weekend, which would be second only to 34.9 million travelers during Labor Day weekend in 1997.

"We expect this to be a high-traffic holiday weekend," said Kansas Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. John Eichkorn. "It's the last holiday before a lot of kids will be going back to school.

"Because it's going to be a holiday where a lot of people will be outside, " we expect that there will be a high amount of alcohol consumption."

Eichkorn said KHP troopers would be patrolling the highways looking for impaired drivers, speeders and drivers who are following too closely.

Last Labor Day weekend, four people died and 240 were injured on Kansas roads in 509 crashes, he said.

Eichkorn said one of the simplest precautions motorists can take is to buckle up and make sure passengers have their seat belts on, as well.

He said the busiest traveling times would be this evening and Monday.

The AAA estimates that 23 percent of travelers plan to visit cities, 20 percent will be going to towns or rural areas, and 14 percent plan to visit lakes. The association said others would travel to mountains, beaches, and state and national parks.

Bunnie Watkins, park manager at Perry Lake for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, estimated that 30,000 people would visit Perry Lake this weekend.

"The lake is at normal pool, and all areas are open for use," she said.

Last year, there were 24,000 visitors and 7,000 campers at the lake, she said.

Figures for Clinton Lake weren't available Thursday, but Dave Rhoades, park manager at Clinton Lake for the corps, said several thousand visitors were expected.

"I would say it's probably going to be a little bit busier than normal," he said. "Quite a few of the (camping) sites are reserved. We will have an overflow area open, in case it does fill up. We shouldn't be turning anybody away."

Eichkorn said motorists with cellular telephones may call the following numbers to report reckless or dangerous driving: *47 for the KHP and *KTA for the Kansas Turnpike Authority.

"We need a good description of the vehicle, location and direction of travel," he said.

-- Michael Dekker's phone message number is 832-7187. His e-mail address is mdekker@ljworld.com.



AVERAGE GASOLINE PRICES

The national average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline will be $1.255 per gallon this holiday weekend, according to the American Automobile Assn.

The amount is 18 cents higher than last Labor Day weekend, the AAA said.

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