Wisconsin holiday travelers: Here's peak travel times this Thanksgiving

More than 960,000 Wisconsinites will drive to their destinations this weekend. Here are peak travel times and highway projects to be aware of before hitting the road for the holidays.
Holiday Travel Traffic
Posted at 4:45 PM, Nov 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-20 17:45:55-05

MILWAUKEE — If you're hitting the road this week for the Thanksgiving holiday, you can definitely expect some company!

More than 960,000 Wisconsinites will drive to their destinations this weekend, according to AAA. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) released its anticipated peak travel times for this week:

  • Wednesday, November 22: 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, November 23: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Friday, November 24: 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 25: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, November 26: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Though construction season is finishing up, DOT officials are still urging travelers to watch their speed and focus on the road. Below are highway projects that could impact your travel plans:

  • Dane County: Expect delays as US 18/151 is reduced to one lane in each direction between County G and Fitchrona Road in Verona.
  • Milwaukee and Ozaukee counties: Intermittent ramp and local street closures in certain segments along I-43 between Glendale and Grafton.
  • Milwaukee County: Various ramp closures and single-lane closures along I-43 between Capitol Drive and the Marquette Interchange

Drivers may also run into the WisDOT Safety Patrol along I-41 in Brown and Outagamie counties, as well as I-43 in Milwaukee and Ozaukee counties during the holiday weekend. The DOT says, "The fleet of specially equipped vehicles help manage highway incidents within construction work zones to keep everyone safe."
The Associated Press reports that this year, more than 55 million people are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home for Thanksgiving, a slight increase over last year. Early birds will get the open roads. Traffic jams not only slow you down but likely result in crashes due to distracted drivers.

“When traffic is moving at a more steady pace and you don’t have as much of that stop and go, folks are less inclined to pick up their phones,” Megan Jones, senior actuary at Arity, shared. Arity analyzes mobility data.

Jones also says speeding increases around the holiday.

“It’s something to be cognizant of as you’re coming home. There are others on the road, and those high speeds do present a higher risk of accidents, and more costly accidents when they occur,” she said.

According to the DOT, all rest areas are open in Wisconsin for those who need a restroom, amenities, or just a break from traveling.

Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicle (DMV) customer service centers will also be closed from Thursday to Saturday. To conduct DMV business online 25/7, visit
Access real-time information on travel conditions, live traffic cameras, work zones, and incidents across Wisconsin: