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Thanksgiving Travel: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Estimates 5.4 million Vehicles will use its Bridges and Tunnels Meeting Pre-pandemic Levels


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Fort Lee NJ, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced today that more than 8.5 million travelers are expected to use its airports and vehicular crossings during an extended 8-day peak travel period beginning Monday, Nov. 20, to Monday, Nov. 27. The Port Authority expects to serve the most Thanksgiving air travelers and motorists ever due to the proliferation of flexible and remote work arrangements helping to elongate the travel period.

The agency estimates that approximately 5.4 million vehicles will use its bridges and tunnels over the 8-day period, which would be similar to vehicular volume over the same eight days in pre-pandemic in 2019. To accommodate anticipated significant vehicular volume, all lane closures for non-emergency construction at its crossings are suspended now through 5 a.m. Monday, Nov. 27.

During the same period, nearly 3.1 million air passengers are expected to use the agency’s airports. The total would top the previous Thanksgiving travel record set in 2022, when just under 3 million air travelers used Port Authority’s airports. Demand for international travel is expected to be robust, with a 12 percent increase in seat capacity across the agency’s major airports compared to last year’s Thanksgiving travel period.

The Port Authority strongly encourages all travelers to plan ahead and allow for additional travel time. Travelers should expect longer wait times due to higher passenger volume, ongoing construction and possible staffing shortages at security checkpoints operated by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). All passengers on domestic flights should arrive to the airport at least two hours in advance of their departure time and passengers on international flights should arrive at the airports at least three hours in advance of their departure times. Travelers are strongly advised to check the Port Authority’s air travel tips for information on preparing for their trips, including how to find real-time wait time information for TSA security lines, information on parking lot availability, AirTrain maps and schedules, directions for public transit or for-hire vehicle information. The Port Authority encourages anyone going to the airports to make parking reservations or plan to take public transit.

All travelers who plan to use the Port Authority’s facilities should note the following service changes that will be in effect from Friday, Nov. 17, to Monday, Nov. 27, and allow for additional travel time:

Airports & AirTrain:

  • Through July 2024, outside John F. Kennedy International Airport, the eastbound right lane of North Boundary Road is closed between the FedEx driveway and North Hangar Road due to construction. Follow detour signage for access to the pedestrian walkway and relocated bus shelter.
  • Through November 2023, major roadway work on the terminal frontage bridges of Newark Liberty International Airport requires the all-hours closure of one of the three traffic lanes servicing both terminals B and C. The construction work repairs and replaces deteriorating structural components to ensure continued operations and maintain a state of good repair. Check the airport website for updates on this critical work. For more information, click here.
  • As a reminder, all rental car companies serving Newark Liberty International Airport now operate out of the new consolidated rental car center that is co-located within the Parking A garage on levels 1 through 3. All rental transactions, including returns, take place at the new center. The facility is connected to Newark Liberty’s terminals B and C via AirTrain Newark, with a direct connection to the new Terminal A via a pedestrian bridge. Passengers exiting the Terminal A can walk across the bridge to arrive on level two of the rental car facility. Drivers should follow “Rental Car Return” roadway signage. For more information, click here.
  • Until further notice, the for-hire vehicle pick-up location at John F. Kennedy International Airport’s Terminal 5 will be relocated to Terminal 7’s Orange Garage roof due to airport redevelopment construction. Passengers seeking for-hire vehicle service from Terminal 5 should take AirTrain JFK to Terminal 7 for the Orange Garage. Passengers arriving to Terminal 5 will continue to be dropped off at the Terminal 5 frontage. Signage has been installed to direct passengers to pick-up locations. More details can be found here.
  • Until further notice, the taxi stand at John F. Kennedy International Airport’s Terminal 5 has been relocated to the ground level of Terminal 5’s Yellow Parking Garage. Passengers seeking taxi transportation from Terminal 5 are directed to the Yellow Garage via the skywalk on the fifth floor, where passengers may access the new taxi stand using elevators or stairs. Wayfinding signage has been installed along the pedestrian route.
  • Until further notice, parking on level 1 of John F. Kennedy International Airport’s Yellow Parking Lot at Terminal 5 is now dedicated for individuals with special needs or disabilities. For customer assistance, parking attendants are available on level 1. All other vehicles must park on levels 2 to 6. Premium Reserved Parking is available on level 5, which is easily accessible to Terminal 5 via the pedestrian skywalk. Electric vehicle charging is available on level 2. Plan ahead by checking parking availability and booking a parking spot in advance.
  • As a reminder, peak period parking rates are now in effect at John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia airports. To manage on-airport parking demand, the Port Authority is urgently calling on air travelers to use mass transit and to pre-book parking spaces if they plan to travel to the airport by private car. Travelers who do not pre-book will be charged a peak period drive-up surcharge and may not be able to find a parking spot at the airport. To avoid paying a higher parking rate and guarantee a parking spot, travelers parking for longer than three hours are strongly encouraged to pre-book parking at least 24 hours in advance. For more information on the updated rates and how to guarantee a parking spot, click here.
  • LaGuardia Link Q70 bus service is fare free year-round to encourage the use of public transit to and from LaGuardia Airport, as announced in April 2022 by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. For information on how to get to the airport via public transit, visit the MTA’s page on travel to LaGuardia Airport.


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Bridges & Tunnels:


Midtown Bus Terminal & George Washington Bus Station:

  • Customers should check for the most updated trip departure times and itineraries with their individual bus carriers, some of which may be operating on holiday schedules.


  • On Sunday, Nov. 19, from 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. PATH service between Journal Square and Harrison stations on the Newark-World Trade Center line will be suspended in both directions for essential track maintenance and repairs. Free alternate bus and rail service will be provided through NJ TRANSIT. Service between Newark-Penn and Harrison stations will be available on the New York-bound platforms. Service between Journal Square and World Trade Center will not be affected. For more information, click here.
  • On Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 23, PATH will operate on a Saturday schedule with supplemental service offered mid-day.
  • On Friday, Nov. 24, PATH will run modified weekday service during the peak morning and evening hours, with trains scheduled to arrive every ten minutes.
  • The southwest entrance to the Harrison station is closed at all hours to accommodate construction underway at the station. During construction, riders are required to use traffic signal pedestrian crossings at Angelo Cifelli Drive and Guyon Drive to access a corresponding station house on the opposite side of Frank E. Rodgers Boulevard.
  • Customers who use the PATH World Trade Center station during overnights should use the street level entrances at Fulton Street or Vesey Street via the North Concourse in the 2 World Trade Center transit lobby. Oculus access is limited overnight from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. to allow for enhanced cleaning and the safety and security of customers due to reduced traffic volumes. All other entrances will be closed. For updates on the WTC campus, click here.
  • For the Thanksgiving weekend, the 9 St and 23 St stations, normally closed from each midnight to 5 a.m. for maintenance, will remain open.
  • For information on PATH service and train schedules, click here or download the PATH mobile app, RidePath.

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