CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Forecasts for a Thanksgiving-eve snowstorm didn't pan out, but apparently convinced a lot of people to change their travel plans, Parkways Authority General Manager Greg Barr said Monday.
West Virginia Turnpike toll transactions were down 7.7 percent for the six-day holiday travel period, compared to 2012, he said.
"The storm warnings and the storms that hit the Midwest and Northeast did affect traffic," Barr said. "Some of these people must have said, "We'll come down for Christmas this year instead."
Forecasts for Wednesday, Nov. 27 -- one of the heaviest travel days of the year -- called for heavy, wet snow with accumulations of up to 8 inches in Princeton, Beckley, and higher elevations on the Turnpike, he noted. Instead, there was a brief period of light snow and icy rain, presenting only minor problems.
"It was pretty uneventful," Barr said.
Tuesday through Sunday, Turnpike toll collectors handled about 668,000 transactions, down from 724,000 transactions for Thanksgiving week in 2012.
As expected, Sunday was the heaviest traffic day, with 165,000 transactions, and Thanksgiving Day had the least traffic, with 69,000 transactions.
Wednesday was the second-heaviest travel day, but with a lower than normal 123,000 transactions.
Sunday traffic tends to be more congested, with Turnpike travel concentrated between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., Barr said.
The only traffic problem Sunday was for southbound travelers from about 3:30 to 6 p.m., when there were three rear-end collisions within a half-hour between Marmet and Chesapeake, Barr said.
While the fender benders were cleared quickly, the backup created traffic congestion at toll plazas southbound, he said.
Meanwhile, with Christmas falling on a Wednesday this year, Barr said Christmas holiday traffic should be spread out through the week.
"When it falls on a Monday or Friday, you can pretty much predict which weekend is your big travel period," Barr said.Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.