Motorists crawled along the I-95 corridor Saturday as a smattering of accidents slowed already sluggish holiday traffic, authorities said.
Troopers from Prince George's County to Cecil County reported roadways more crowded than normal as the end-of-year travel season got underway.
"It's been backed up really heavy all day," said Cpl. Kevin Watkins of the Maryland State Police's John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway barracks in Perryville.
Traffic was stop-and-go and averaging only 25 miles an hour most of the day, Watkins said, adding that an accident "makes it even worse."
A five-car crash on the northbound lanes just before the bridge connecting Harford and Cecil counties backed up cars for 3 miles around 6 p.m. Saturday evening, Watkins said. There were no major injuries.
AAA Mid-Atlantic predicted 1.7 million Marylanders would travel by car between Saturday and Jan. 1. About 90 percent of all Maryland travelers are expected to use highways for the year-end holiday season, AAA said.
In Howard County, both directions were slow before an accident on the northbound side near Route 175 around 4 p.m. In Baltimore and Prince George traffic moved steadily but more slowly than an average Saturday, officials said.
"It's just been heavy all day, probably just the pre-holiday Christmas shopping rush, we're figuring," said Cpl. Harrington, a state police trooper at the College Park barracks who declined to give his first name.
Watkins, in Perryville, said troopers expected the traffic to begin to slow after 8 p.m., based on historical patterns.