LEWISTON — Officials at the Maine Turnpike Authority say they are gearing up for at least a 3.1 percent increase in traffic this Labor Day compared to last year.

Turnpike spokeswoman Erin Courtney said MTA officials expect more than one million vehicles to use the turnpike Sept. 3-7. It continues an overall trend on the Maine highway, with traffic up about 4 percent compared to 2014.

Courtney credited sunny days this summer coupled with lower gas prices in the past few weeks for the increase.

“Also, there seems to be a stronger economy overall,” she said. “We are seeing the commercial class (vehicles) are coming back. That means anything that’s not a passenger vehicle. We can see how much is going through and those classes have been higher overall.”

Courtney said the authority predicted a 4 percent increase in traffic on the July 4 holiday this year compared to last, but the total ended up being about 8 percent.

“So, we do predict conservatively and we are going with a 3.1 percent increase this weekend,” she said, “but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is higher.”

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