ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4) – It was bumper-to-bumper traffic Wednesday night on Thanksgiving Eve for drivers heading southbound toward Nevada on Interstate 15.

“Thanksgiving, you have people that are traveling and sometimes long trips across the state,” says John Gleason, the Public Relations Director for the Utah Department of Transportation.

Gleason says Sunday evening was when the majority of residents made their way back home.

“People trying to come back in to the state from Southern Utah or Las Vegas, or any of those areas,” he says.

Gleason says there’s about a 20% increase in traffic from the 2019 Thanksgiving weekend to this year, likely because many residents are vaccinated and willing to travel out of state again. He says several minor crashes caused delays along I-15 in Southern Utah.

“Even after the crashes were cleared, we saw some residual delay as traffic tried to get back to normal again,” he says.

Including one serious accident Sunday, northbound on the interstate near Parowan, Gleason says caused about a 90-minute delay for many drivers.

“When you have so many vehicles that are out there traveling, if you get one or two fender benders, even or minor crashes, it’s going to cause a significant delay and that’s just what we saw yesterday,” he says.

Gleason says the department doesn’t expect to see concentrated traffic for upcoming holidays like Christmas, as they anticipate more people will travel by air or stay local.

UDOT leaders want to remind drivers to plan ahead and give themselves extra time on the roads, especially during upcoming holidays, to stay safe behind the wheel. You can also call 511 for travel information.