AAA predicts record July 4 travel. I-70 is trending the other way. 

A new holiday travel forecast from AAA predicts the busiest July Fourth in history with 70.9 million people flying or driving, June 29 to July 7.  

That is 5.2% more than last year and 8.8% percent more than 2019. Experts say cheaper gas and airfares are making it easier to visit top-10 destinations like Denver, Seattle and Orlando. 

But there’s an asterisk with AAA’s prediction. For the first time ever, the travel group is including two weekends in its forecast. Those additional weekends could be padding the total. AAA admits it’s not comparing apples to apples: 

“For the first time, AAA looked at the entire July 4th week, plus the Saturday before and the Sunday after the holiday,” the forecast says.   

In Summit County, I-70 traffic has been trailing last year almost every weekend since early March. 

In four full weekends this June, traffic at the Eisenhower-Johnson Tunnels was down 11% from last year. That’s a loss of more than 64,000 cars in 12 days. 

And it’s been happening all year on the mountain corridor. Not a single month this year has been busier than the same month last year. 

Will 2024 break the traffic trend with Independence Day?  

July is historically the busiest time of year on I-70. In 2023 the two busiest weekends of the year were in July. In past years they have been split between June and July.