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Local News


More Travelers Expected to Hit Roadways, Skies for Fourth of July Weekend

More people are expected to travel the roads and skies this Fourth of July weekend than since 2007.

The number of folks journeying from home over the long holiday weekend is expected to increase slightly — less than 1 percent — to 41.9 million nationwide, according to a Triple A traveler forecast.

Nearly 80 percent of Southern Californians will drive to their destinations, equating to 2.4 million people, the report said.

The Santa Barbara Airport is on the ready, however, since another 355,000 of those residents are expected to venture by air — an increase of 1.4 percent from 2014.

Passengers started departing for long weekend getaways on Wednesday, said airport director Hazel Johns, who expected most travelers to return to Santa Barbara on Monday or Tuesday.

Seattle and Portland are two popular destinations, Johns said, noting those Alaska Airlines flights were over 90 percent full, which is “very high.”

The boost could help the Santa Barbara Airport, which saw two airlines pull flights from its terminal during the past year.

“We’re closing the gap from the loss of Americans’ flights to L.A. and Frontier Airlines,” Johns said. “We’re still down overall.”

She encouraged passengers to leave fireworks at home and to arrive 90 minutes before departure to find parking, check luggage and go through security. Johns also plugged a new Thanks Again program, where passengers sign up for free and accrue points or dollars by flying out of Santa Barbara and several other airports.

Since so many Southern California residents are expected to drive to destinations over the Independence Day holiday, the California Highway Patrol and local law enforcement agencies will be out in full force to reduce roadway deaths and to prevent injuries.

An Independence Day Maximum Enforcement Period begins at 6 p.m. Friday and continues through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, according to the CHP.

All available officers will be deployed, targeting enforcement on occupant restraints, speed violations and those driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

According to CHP data, 32 people were killed statewide during Fourth of July weekend last year — 70 percent of those killed were not wearing a seatbelt — and more than 1,300 were arrested for DUI.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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