YORK (AP) – Soaring gas prices are expected to hold down traffic on the Maine Turnpike over the Memorial Day weekend, preventing the highway from setting new traffic records.

Economist Charles Colgan predicts that the higher prices will result in a 3.5 percent drop in northbound traffic at the York Toll Plaza on Friday and Saturday.

Still, the toll road is preparing for a busy weekend. More than 650,000 vehicles are expected to travel the turnpike from Friday to Monday, which would be close to the total for the same period last year.

Colgan, of the University of Southern Maine Center for Tourism Research and Outreach, says average gas prices in New England are 22 percent higher than they were a year ago.

AP-ES-05-21-08 1402EDT

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