NH preps for Memorial Day weekend tourism

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May 23, 2013, 4:58 pm
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(NECN: Lauren Collins, Salem, N.H.) -  Memorial Day weekend. "It's the unofficial start of summer," proclaims New Hampshire's Commissioner of Resources and Economic Development Jeffrey Rose.

This year, Americans plan to hit the roads. According to AAA Northern New England's Nick Wallner, "About 35 million people are expected to travel this weekend, primarily by car, and these are folks who are going to go more than 50 miles away from home."

State police in Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire will have extra patrols on the highways looking for impaired, distracted and sleepy drivers.

"We want you to get to where you're going, enjoy yourself, enjoy the white mountains, enjoy all of northern New England to the level that you should," says NHSP Major Russ Conte, "and in order to do that you have to get there safely with your families."

But will the forecast cooperate? The NECN weather app predicts rain Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

"Have they ever been wrong with the weather before," asks Rose, tongue in cheek.

New Hampshire tourism officials say the state is open for business no matter what lies in the skies. In fact, they predict more than a half million travelers will cross the border this weekend. Memorial Day is one of the busiest holidays of the year.

"We anticipate about $88 million that will be coming into the state," says Rose.

Sounds like a lot of traffic.  Not so bad on I-93 where the new high speed EZ-pass lanes opened in time for the holiday crush, weeks ahead of schedule.  

"We are thrilled," says New Hampshire Turnpike Administrator Chris Waszczuk.

Ninety thousand cars came through the Hooksett toll plaza at the start of last year's Memorial Day weekend.   

"With that 90,000 vehicles expected tomorrow," says Waszczuk, "this plaza will be able to handle it without any congestion whatsoever."

Tags: new hampshire, Lauren Collins, Salem, Memorial Day weekend, Jeffrey Ross, AAA Northern New England
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