MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — According to AAA, more than 47 million Americans are expected to travel this Fourth of July weekend, and local public safety agencies said they’re prepared for the visitors.
Of those traveling, AAA said more than 43.6 million are expected to drive to their destinations. With more people on the roads, that means there will be more law enforcement.
“We anticipate a lot of people come to the beach and traffic is already picking up and we’re seeing people headed that way,” Master Trooper Brian Lee said.
He said everyone will be working this weekend, looking for people not wearing seatbelts, distracted driving, drunk driving, and other traffic offenses.
“We’re going to be out, trying to blend in so maybe we’ll see them before they see us and we’ll catch that bad behavior if that’s what we need to do,” Lee said.
While this is the summer of the Great American Road Trip, thousands of people are set to travel by plane.
Myrtle Beach International Airport is expected to see heavy traffic for the Fourth of July weekend, according to airport officials.
There are 50,394 scheduled departing seats between Friday and Monday, according to airport officials. That’s a 94.2% increase over the same period last year. Officials said Saturday has the largest number of scheduled departing seats, but expects heavy traffic all weekend.
Passengers can expect the heaviest crowds between 5 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day and are asked to arrive at least two to three hours before scheduled departure time.
Officials said there is no TSA staffing shortage at the airport and all six screening lanes are in use.
Seat capacity this summer has increased 72% compared to 2019 and there are 71% more scheduled flights, airport officials said.
Airport officials also urge passengers not checking any bags to check in to their flights online ahead of time or by using self-service kiosks to avoid long lines at the check-in counter.
Travelers are also advised to follow the airport on Twitter and also follow the airline they’re traveling with for the latest information.
Weather driving or flying, the Myrtle Beach Police Department and the Myrtle Beach Fire Department say they’re ready. Police said extra units are coming in.
“We’re ready to go any kind of weekend, whether it’s Fourth of July, or just a regular weekend,” Myrtle Beach Fire Department Lt. Jonathan Evans said. “We want everyone to come here and be safe and be responsible but we’ll be there in case something happens.”
There will not be a change in traffic patterns, but there will still be traffic.
“Make sure that you plan ahead,” Lee said. “Traffic might be hectic, traffic might be busy, just know that it might take you a while to get through [Highway] 501 or [Highway} 544 or US 17.”
The Myrtle Beach Fire Department also wants to remind everyone that fireworks are illegal in Myrtle Beach city limits.