Here are the best, worst times to travel for Thanksgiving in Atlanta

ATLANTA — More than 53 million Americans are expected to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday and traffic experts say drivers in Atlanta and other major cities are likely to experience more than three-fold delays this year.

To help with your plans to get away, Georgia Department of Transportation has released its guidance for the best way to navigate Georgia’s roads and highways.

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GDOT says the travel week actually began Friday afternoon as many people wrapped up their work week ahead of the holiday. But Wednesday will be another heavy travel day.

GDOT is predicting travel volumes for the week will be returning to “pre-pandemic” levels. Anticipating that, the state has compiled a list of what they believe will be the busiest areas statewide.

  • I-20 eastbound congestion on Wednesday, Nov. 24 heading into metro Atlanta; westbound congestion Sunday, Nov. 28 heading out of the city towards Alabama.
  • I-20 is expected to have eastbound congestion
  • I-75 is predicted to have heavy congestion southbound and northbound coming out of Atlanta in Stockbridge.
  • I-85 congestion near the South Carolina and Alabama borders
  • I-95 northbound congestion in Savannah

For Wednesday, GDOT is predicting that noon to 6 p.m. will see the heaviest congestion on metro Atlanta interstates and says you should add 30-45 minutes to your travel time.

GDOT says the best time to travel is from 10 a.m. to noon before people are leaving work.


The worst corridor for travel is the I-85 south stretch from Clairmont Road to MLK Drive. The peak congestion is expected to be from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 340% above normal, according to AAA.

GDOT said they will suspend lane closures statewide beginning Wed., Nov. 24 at 5 a.m. through 10 p.m., Sunday Nov. 28. They added drivers should expect the same closures for Christmas and New Years.

Along with the closures suspended, here’s a list of tips that GDOT said might make your holiday drive a little easier.

  • If you are leaving home, try to get on the road before 10 a.m.
  • Traffic volumes normally increase after noon when drivers are departing work early or finishing their last-minute shopping lists
  • You can expect to add 30-45 minutes to your travel time in metro Atlanta Wednesday afternoon the 24th. due to increased congestion.