Quiet Before Weekend Travel Storm

2.5 million Illinoisans expected on roads this weekend

It's time to open presents, each too much and enjoy your family. You can also toast to fact that for now, it appears the travel headaches of the last three days are over. That is, until everyone starts heading back home.   

[Chicago-Area Traffic Times | Amtrak | O'Hare International | Midway International | Gary-Chicago International | Metra | CTA]


A spokesman for Chicago's Department of Aviation says no delays or cancellations are being reported today at either of the city's two airports.
It's a different story from the past few days when hundreds of cancellations wreaked havoc on holiday travel.
O'Hare International Airport requested 75 cots for passengers last night and some people slept on the floor.
There were also troubles at O'Hare when an American Airlines plane heading for Washington D.C.hit an icy patch and slide into the grass. One of the runways was closed, but no one was hurt.

 Sunday is expected to be the heaviest travel day at O'Hare when more than 200,000 passengers should pass through the airport.


State transportation officials say a lot of construction work will be suspended through Sunday to allow for smoother holiday travel on roadways.
Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Milton Sees says the agency wants to ensure there is safe travel for millions of motorists traveling to visit loved ones.
He says he hopes the suspension of construction and opening lanes will prevent any mishaps on the roadways.
The agency says nearly 2.5 million people in Illinois will be traveling for the holidays. The majority, about 1.9 million will be traveling by vehicle.

 The city currently has 22 inches of snow, 10 inches more than the amount at this time last year, and well over the average 7 inches of snow.

When all that snow begins to melt, and then temperatures begin to drop, the potential for icing becomes very real.  Streets and Sanitation had approximately 100 trucks on the streets Wednesday evening to address problem spots.

Temperatures are expected to reach the 40s by this weekend and flooding from rain and melting will likely be a big problem.

Railways Amtrak customers are breathing sighs of relief.

The national passenger service says its trains out of Chicago and at other points around the country are leaving on time or relatively close to it.

About 600 Amtrak passengers waited for as many as 22 hours at Chicago's Union Station before their trains finally departed Tuesday afternoon.

Amtrak says the delays were caused by snow storms and frigid cold that caused technical problems on trains and froze track switches.

"People were just sleeping all over the place," Betty Hill, a St. Cloud, Minn.-bound passenger said.

Amtrak says several trains scheduled to leave Chicago were also canceled Tuesday. And passengers on shorter-distance trains were put on buses instead.

Amtrak has apologized for the problems and says it wants to hear from any disgruntled passengers so the national passenger service can develop a better response next time.

"You can't believe what they tell you. They've lied all the time," White said.

Florida Johnson, also headed to Minnesota, said that passengers were told of a new problem every hour or so.

"We boarded at 5 a.m. and thought we were leaving. I woke up at 8 and the train was still here," Johnson said.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari the agency will be doing a "top-to-bottom" review of this week's disruptions to try and prevent them from happen again.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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