LAYTON -- The holiday that many mark as the beginning of summer figures to be a busy one on Utah roads.
More than 2.6 million Mountain West residents will travel 50 miles or more this Memorial Day weekend, up a slight 0.2 percent from last year, according to AAA.
Of those travelers, AAA projects 2.3 million of them will drive to their destinations.
Despite gas prices in Utah being higher than they were last year, AAA Utah spokeswoman Cynthia Harris said, Utahns are still finding ways to get away for the holiday.
"Many people are modifying or scaling back in other types of vacation expenditures in order to afford a few days away from home," she said.
The average Utah price for a gallon of regular gasoline sits at about $3.70, up nearly 64 cents from this time one year ago.
Harris said higher gas prices may have also contributed to the fact that more than 260,000 Mountain West residents intend to travel by air, an increase of 11.3 percent from 2010.
Nationally, AAA projects nearly 35 million people will travel 50 miles or more during the holiday weekend.
The Utah Department of Transportation says drivers should expect potentially significant delays on a few state roads and that some popular routes won't even be open.
Interstate 15 through Utah County figures to be congested for much of the weekend, the department says, because of the increased number of travelers and ongoing construction work.
Interstate 84 at Taggart in Morgan County, between Morgan and Croydon, is currently reduced to one lane in each direction, which may also cause congestion, said UDOT spokeswoman Tania Mashburn.
Northern Utah's two alpine highways, which have been closed for the winter, will not be open for recreational or other travel for the Memorial Day weekend.
State Road 39 -- also known as the Monte Cristo Highway -- will be closed from Mile Marker 37 at Ant Flats near Huntsville to Mile Marker 56 just west of Woodruff. And State Road 65 -- also known as The Big Mountain Highway -- will be closed from Mile Marker 3 near the Emigration Canyon turnoff to Mile Marker 14 south of the East Canyon Resort.
"Extremely deep snow and ice have persisted at levels we haven't seen in many years," said Region One Director Kris Peterson. "In some places, drifts across the roads are still 25 to 30 feet deep."
Peterson said some of the deepest snowfalls in decades have left the routes and the surrounding terrain covered with deep snow and packed ice, which is not only difficult to remove, but hard on the equipment used to perform that work.