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Thanksgiving exodus turns commute into a crawl

While Thanksgiving Day is still two days away, holiday traffic was already clogging the state’s highways this evening with travelers heading out of town for faraway family get-togethers.

“Today and tomorrow historically are high-volume days,” said Michael Verseckes, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation.

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Last year, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving Day marked the ninth busiest travel day of the year, Verseckes added.

Cars inched forwards on the Massachusetts Turnpike on Tuesday evening near Boston, according to the boston.com traffic information service.

The service showed cars crawling on the Massachusetts Turnpike westbound to just before the Route 9 exit in Framingham. Traffic was moving slowly eastbound both before and after the Route 128 tolls.

Travelers who chose Interstate 93 Tuesday afternoon did not fare much better with cars moving slowly southbound south of the city and northbound north of the city, according to the traffic service. By Tuesday night traffic on I-93 was flowing smoothly.

Traffic was also moving slowly on much of Route 128, around Boston Tuesday afternoon. The congestion cleared by Tuesday night.

Verseckes anticipates heavy volume again on Wednesday but points to a sliver of hope for travelers. New message and camera boards were recently installed that will warn drivers of any approaching traffic backup.

Yet the best advice he can offer is for commuters is to try to leave before noon Wednesday or after 8 p.m. to avoid the traffic tieups that are expected.

Melanie Dostis can be reached at melanie.dostis@globe.com.
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