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posted: 11/26/2013 5:57 PM

Millions hit the road — and skies — this holiday

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  • It's a busy holiday traveling season with 1.9 million expected to head through O'Hare and Midway international airports.

    It's a busy holiday traveling season with 1.9 million expected to head through O'Hare and Midway international airports.
    Daily Herald File Photo


Ten million tollway drivers, 1.4 million O'Hare passengers, 737,537 or more Amtrak riders, 200 police departments and a partridge -- actually, a deer -- in the headlights.

With Thanksgiving bearing down quickly, transportation officials are predicting a surge in travelers and issuing related advice and warnings.

For starters, the Illinois tollway anticipates 10 million vehicles will journey on toll roads between Wednesday and Dec. 2.

The heaviest traffic is expected Wednesday with 1.7 million cars and trucks competing for space. Most construction is suspended over the holiday but officials warned motorists to watch for work at: the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) near the I-57 interchange project; on ramps at I-294 and the Stevenson Expressway (I-55); on the Jane Addams Tollway (I-90) between Rockford and the Elgin Toll Plaza; on ramps at the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355) and I-55.

Meanwhile, police are reminding drivers they'll be out in full force over the Thanksgiving week checking for drunken drivers and seat belt scofflaws.

Authorities also cautioned drivers that deer are very active during this time of the year, particularly at dusk and dawn; Cook County alone experienced 460 collisions in 2012.

In the air, the Chicago Department of Aviation is bracing for more than 1.9 million passengers to travel through O'Hare and Midway International Airports.

With about 1.4 million people destined for O'Hare, the busiest travel day is expected to be Sunday, as it is for Midway.

Experts are recommending fliers check airlines' websites and weather forecasts before heading to the airport, with a storm in the Northeast that's already messing up some travelers' plans.

The Chicago Transit Authority, however, is offering more trains to O'Hare starting Wednesday afternoon.

At O'Hare, flu shots will be available; for more information go to

Amtrak is also expecting to surpass last year's record of 737,537 riders. New this year is the Track a Train feature that offers real-time train status times.

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