The most congestion is expected to be on July 3 in the late afternoon. (Photo: MGNOnline)

Area residents who plan to travel for the July 4 holiday will join a record-breaking crowd.

Nearly 47 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more this year.

That’s an increase of more than 5 percent compared with last year and the highest number since the AAA started tracking this 18 years ago.

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“Confident consumers with additional disposable income will look to spend on travel this holiday, building on an already busy summer travel season,” AAA Senior Vice President of AAA Travel and Publishing Bill Sutherland said in a prepared statement.

In addition to strong economic factors, the fact that the holiday falls on a Wednesday may also contribute to the increase because it gives travelers more flexibility, AAA reported.

AAA defines the Independence Day holiday period this year as July 3 to July 8.

Global transportation analytics company INRIX joined AAA in predicting that drivers will have the most congestion on July 3 in late afternoon as commuters leave work and mix in with holiday travelers.

Travel times could increase twofold in the major metros across the U.S.

“Although travel times are expected to nominally increase throughout the week, Tuesday afternoon will hands-down be the worst time to be on the road,” Inrix’s Scott Sedlik said in a prepared statement. “Our advice to drivers is to avoid peak commuting hours altogether or consider alternative routes.”

AAA has more information.

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