- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 27, 2005

Thousands of area residents returned from the Thanksgiving holiday yesterday causing minor backups on most roads and major delays at the Mixing Bowl throughout the afternoon.

Adding to the congestion were the tens of thousands of Redskins fans driving to and from FedEx Field, further clogging the Beltway in Prince George’s County.

About 683,000 people left the area late last week, and about 83 percent of them were driving, said officials with AAA Mid-Atlantic.

“Most of those travelers want to have kids back at school Monday and want to be at their desks Monday, so that means today is going to be a pretty heavy return,” Lon Anderson, a spokesman with AAA Mid-Atlantic, said yesterday.

Operations went smoothly at area airports yesterday despite large crowds, said Courtney Prebich, a spokeswoman with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

“Overall, everything flowed pretty well this morning and afternoon,” Miss Prebich said yesterday. “The lines were flowing pretty smoothly even though we expected it to be a pretty busy Thanksgiving travel season.”

Officials estimated that about 1 million travelers would pass through Washington Dulles International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport over the weekend.

At Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport, security lines were short as one of the busiest travel days of the year progressed.

“We expect more than 65,000 travelers to pass through over this weekend,” Cheryl Stewart, a spokeswoman with the airport said yesterday. “For the most part, things are operating fine.”

Traffic also was affected in Annapolis over the weekend, where crews worked to remove the front of a jewelry store on Main Street yesterday to improve stability of the building, two days after a fire badly burned three buildings, including two historic structures.

The blaze, suspected to be electrical, caused millions of dollars in damage to the businesses Friday night.

Engineers found the building that housed Zachary’s Jewelers presented safety concerns and worked to take away part of the building front found to be unstable.

Capt. Joseph Martin, a spokesman for the Annapolis fire department, said the building would be turned over to the owner once public-safety concerns were addressed.

Capt. Martin said two buildings on each side of Zachery’s are historic. The building that housed the Candy Factory was built in 1880, and the building housing Main Street Ice Cream was built in 1860.

One lane of Main Street was open to traffic yesterday. Officials hoped to open the street entirely by last evening.

Annapolis Mayor Ellen Moyer has assembled a team to help relocate the businesses in the three damaged buildings. Her office said she will announce today where those stores will be moving to, with the goal of reopening them in a week.

Miss Moyer, a Democrat, said renovation of the damaged buildings will include installation of sprinkler systems.

This article is based in part on wire service reports

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