SALT LAKE CITY — Those traveling this week should prepare for heavy traffic and snowy conditions on the road, the Utah Department of Transportation says.
UDOT is advising drivers to leave early when traveling starting Wednesday and continuing through Thanksgiving and into the weekend.
Engineers for UDOT say drivers on Interstate 15 should expect heavy delays of up to 30 minutes during the Wednesday evening commute. Drivers should also expect a 15-minute-delay on Sunday.
Officials say traffic on I-15 Wednesday will be the most congested between 2 and 7 p.m., so drivers are encouraged to leave early when traveling between those times. On Wednesday, there is expected to be “high storm activity,” according to UDOT, which could have a further impact on travel times.
On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, traffic will likely be the heaviest between 3 and 7 p.m.
UDOT officials are also encouraging drivers to be prepared before hitting the road in snowy conditions. Drivers should check their tires for proper tread, test the battery in their vehicle, and be sure to have an ice scraper in their vehicles. Officials also encourage drivers to have a winter emergency kit, complete with blankets, jumper cables, food, water and a cell phone charger.
Officials with the Utah Highway Patrol indicated in a tweet that troopers had investigated 53 crashes by 11 a.m. Monday. Around 5 p.m., UHP indicated in another tweet that the number of crashes they’ve seen Monday had grown to 147 around the state.
Later in the day, UHP officials reported that at least one person was dead after a crash involving two tractor-trailers occurred near mile marker 339 in the northbound lanes of Interstate 15 near Riverdale.
As of Monday morning, much of Utah was under a winter weather advisory. From Millard County to north of Logan, the advisory calls for residents to expect snowfall between 1 to 4 inches, according to the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City. The advisory is in effect until 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Hours after that winter weather advisory ends, a winter storm watch will be in effect from late Tuesday into Saturday morning for much of the Wasatch Front. Snow accumulations could range from four to nine inches, according to the NWS. Heavy snow could be possible from Wednesday through Saturday.
Drivers should also be gassing up their vehicles before they hit the road later in the week.
According to GasBuddy, the national average gas price on Thanksgiving will be the highest it has been since 2014. Though the average gas price is just a penny higher this year compared to 2018, the national average has seen a smaller decrease than years past, as gas prices have normally decreased between October to mid-November in the past decade.