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Travelers stuck in traffic walk to Nashville airport to catch flights

This comes at the busiest time of year for the airport — which sees more travelers in the fall than at Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Travelers stuck in traffic walk to Nashville airport to catch flights
Posted at 6:27 AM, Oct 11, 2023

It's expected to be Nashville International Airport's busiest travel period of the year. The airport, known locally as BNA, anticipates a significant surge in passenger traffic with peak days being Oct. 8, Oct. 15, and Oct. 22.

"It's busier than Thanksgiving, Christmas, spring break and all summer travel," said Stacey Nickens, vice president of corporate communications and marketing."This is our busy season."

It comes after BNA saw back-to-back weekends of record-breaking turnout. The airport saw 40,358 departing passengers on Sept. 24 and 42,417 departing passengers on Oct. 1.

"So far we're expecting one more Sunday to have these record-breaking numbers, which is fantastic for us," Nickens said.

What's less fantastic are the roads, which are visibly backed up.

On Sunday, traffic was so bad travelers took matters into their own hands. Several were seen walking up the shoulder of I-40, carrying or rolling their luggage along the way.

Nickens said there are plans to expand the airport loop from three lanes to six. First crews will have to relocate Donelson Pike, which is expected to be completed in 2026. Construction on airport roadways is expected to be completed in 2028.

"We've also opened up another exit which is 216B," said Nickens. "You can literally access the airport from 216A, B and Murfreesboro Road."

But as traveler turnout continues to soar, relief on the roadways may take some time.

"There's a lot more people coming in and out of BNA," said Nickens. "It's really imperative that you get here early, pack smart, allow yourself time to navigate this airport as well as the parking areas."

This story was originally published by Olivia Michael at Scripps News Nashville.

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