2.88 million SoCal residents set to travel somewhere this holiday weekend

The Automobile Club of Southern California says most will drive to their holiday destinations

LOS ANGELES - Some 2.88 million Southern Californians are expected to travel for the Fourth of July weekend starting today, and more than 823,500 travelers are expected to pass through Los Angeles International Airport, a 6 percent jump over 2013.

The Automobile Club of Southern California says the number of Southlanders who'll travel away from home, mostly on road trips, is up 1.5 percent compared to last year.

``We're anticipating for L.A. and Orange County that's going to mean some busy roads, especially about Thursday evening, July 3 and then over the weekend as well,'' according to Marie Montgomery of AAA.

Seventy-nine percent of Southern California travelers are expected to drive to their destination, which is up 2 percent over last year, Montgomery said.

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in L.A. County rose today for the ninth straight day, increasing two-tenths of a cent to $4.18, its highest amount since May 19. 

The Orange County average price rose today for the 12th time in 13 days, increasing one-tenth of a cent to $4.164, also its highest amount since May 19. 

Across California, 4.64 million people are expected to travel over the holiday weekend, which is also a 1.5 percent increase over last year. 

Nationally, 41 million are expected to travel, 1.9 percent more than last year, according to AAA's forecast.

According to a survey of AAA Travel agents, the top five destinations for Southern Californians this holiday are San Diego, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, San Francisco and California's Central Coast, from Santa Barbara to Monterey.  

The California Highway Patrol will begin a maximum enforcement period beginning at 6:01 p.m. today, deploying all available officers onto freeways and county roads in an effort to combat drunken driving. 

The maximum enforcement period will continue through 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

DUI checkpoints will be in operation throughout the weekend and patrols will be conducted, according to Glendora police Chief Tim Staab, the coordinator of the Avoid the 100 DUI Task Force, named for the number of participating law enforcement agencies.

``Every Los Angeles County law enforcement agency is ramping up their enforcement to make our roads safer this Fourth of July,'' Staab said.  

Nancy Suey Castles of Los Angeles World Airports warned air travelers to give themselves extra time and anticipate busy terminals and crowded flights, particularly for domestic trips, between today  and Sunday. 

And don't even think about trying to pack any fireworks, she said. 

She noted that fireworks are considered an explosives hazard, and if they are found at the airport, they can prompt searches of checked and carry-on bags, leading to flight delays.

Airport officials also encouraged passengers to take advantage of alternate forms of transportation to the airport to avoid parking and traffic hassles. 

Passengers were urged to consider public transportation, including FlyAway buses from Van Nuys, Union Station, Expo/La Brea and Westwood, the Metro Rail Green Line, taxis, buses or shuttle vans.

Los Angeles Airport Police officers will be out in force at LAX to keep traffic moving, airport officials said.

For real-time LAX traffic and road closure closures, visit www.LAXisHappening.com. 

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