Traffic

Hello tourist season: Guess what's the worst weekend for traffic on Hilton Head Island?

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Hilton Head has been busy this Easter and spring break. We asked visitors and locals on Thursday to tell us what they've been experiencing. Here's what they said.

If the Friday before Memorial Day is anything like the last two years, it'll be the busiest day for traffic on Hilton Head Island.

On this day last year, a then-record-breaking number of vehicles — 70,756 — crossed the bridges to the island, according to traffic data from the South Carolina Department of Transportation. This year's total won't be available until Saturday.

Last month, the island surpassed that number, when 72,389 vehicles crossed the bridges on April 5, according to the SCDOT.

"Memorial Day is traditionally one of the busiest weekends of the year for Hilton Head Island tourism," said Charlie Clark, spokesperson for the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce in an emailed statement. "We're coming off a record-breaking 2017 in terms of the number of visitors and we're optimistic that Memorial Day will kick off another successful travel season with a positive economic impact for the Lowcountry."

About 2.74 million tourists visited the island last year, Clark said.

Over the last five years, traffic on the island the Friday before Memorial Day has steadily increased, according to the SCDOT. It has been the busiest day of the year for three of the last five years.

The next busiest day varies, but tends to fall in June or July, according to SCDOT data.

Booking.com shows the island is 99 percent booked between Friday, May 25, and Monday, May 28.

AAA is reporting about 41.5 million Americans will travel this weekend, the highest number in more than a dozen years.

Delays on major roadways could be up to three times longer than normal, according to AAA.

AAA also reports gas prices this holiday weekend are expected to be their highest since 2014.

According to Gas Buddy, a phone application that shows nearby gas prices, Hilton Head ranged from $2.59 per gallon to $2.79 per gallon Friday morning.

Traffic on the south end of the island may be worsened by ongoing, temporary single lane closures on Office Park Road. According to a news release from the town, drivers are asked to avoid the intersection of Office Park Road and Greenwood Drive if possible.

The construction work is required by the town's agreement with the University of South Carolina Beaufort, which is set to open the hospitality campus on the south end later this year.

The work is expected to be completed in June.

To view live traffic cameras in Beaufort County, click here.

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