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    Heavy traffic expected on Pike, routes to Cape Cod

    The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is urging travelers to plan ahead to avoid heavy traffic leading into Mother’s Day weekend, particularly on the Massachusetts Turnpike and routes to Cape Cod.

    “We’re looking forward to a pleasurable Mother’s Day weekend, but people should anticipate heavier-than-normal traffic volumes,” said Highway Administrator Frank DePaola.

    Nearly 700,000 Mass. Pike toll transactions were logged last year on the Friday before Mother’s Day, the second-highest number of transactions that year, MassDOT said today in a statement.

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    In order to avoid long lines at the tolls, drivers are encouraged to apply for an E-ZPass, an electronic device that automatically identifies and charges the registered driver when passing through a tollbooth.

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    Those traveling to Cape Cod, a popular Mother’s Day weekend destination, are encouraged to download the RideWise smartphone application, which provides live traffic updates from that area, the MassDOT statement said.

    DePaola said people are often surprised to learn that the biggest holidays of the year aren’t the days with the heaviest traffic.

    “Thanksgiving and July 4th are what everybody thinks,” DePaola said. “It’s actually Columbus Day, Mother’s Day, and most Friday summer weekends.”

    Catalina Gaitan can be reached at catalina.gaitan@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @catalina_gaitan.