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Tallahassee gas station braces for holiday traffic while managing influx of Amazon traffic

Posted at 6:15 PM, Nov 20, 2023
  • AAA says to expect more drivers on the road this year than last.
  • Employees at a gas station on Mahan Drive expect more traffic on the road, but also say the new Amazon facility is driving business up.
  • Watch the video to see how you can avoid the worst of the traffic.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

If you're getting ready to travel ahead of Thanksgiving, you'll be joining a lot more people this year. According to AAA, this year's holiday forecast is a 3 percent increase over last year.

Gene Pennock has helped drivers get on the road for almost 8 years. He works at the Shell station on Mahan Drive near I-10.

"I help with assistant management, I sometimes help with the cashier, I am all over the place," Pennock said. "I'm a people person." He says he's seen an increase in customers since Amazon opened it's massive robotics fulfillment center earlier this fall.

While he works hard to serve that customer base every day, he's anticipating even more customers this holiday season. "The ones off the highway, we do see a higher volume," Pennock said.

He is right about more drivers being on the road. I checked with AAA. They expect more Americans to get in their car this year than last.

Many of those cars pass right through my neighborhood on the interstate. FDOT public information officer Lindsey Harrell says this highway is a lot busier during the holidays.

"There are lots of major cities along Interstate 10, so we definitely will see an increase in traffic," Harrell said. "We have a lot of travelers that will come in from other states."

With that in mind, Megan Pieske told me she's getting a head start this year. "My friends were having a Friendsgiving," Pieske said. "We do it every year. It's annual."

She traveled from South Florida. She said her drive, "wasn't that bad. I have noticed the traffic tends to get worse during the December time period here. But November, so far this week has been pretty good."

AAA says the day where drivers will run into the most traffic will be on Wednesday. It's traffic that Pennock said will keep him busy this holiday season and beyond.

"It's full almost all the time and then holiday travelers it's packed," Pennock said.

If you're planning on traveling on Thanksgiving Day, AAA says the best time to hit the road is before 10 in the morning or after 5 in the evening.