WASHINGTON – Travelers kept home by Hurricane Isabel (search) can hit the road over the weekend as traffic in the air and on the ground begins moving freely again.
Airline schedules were expected to be close to normal Saturday after about half of all East Coast flights were canceled Thursday, the Federal Aviation Administration (search) said.
Air carriers that moved planes and equipment away from airports in Isabel's path were moving them back Friday, airline and airport officials said. They cautioned that it may not be until Sunday that all planes are back in position.
"It would not be unrealistic to expect it may be as late as Sunday before people get to where they intend to go," said Jonathan Gaffney, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (search), which operates Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport.
Officials advised customers to call their airlines or check the FAA Web site before leaving for airports through Sunday.
David Castelveter, US Airways spokesman, said his airline canceled 600 flights Thursday and 200 on Friday.
"We were able to get our airplanes in, and get them back out and situated at other airports, so they were not damaged by the storm," he said.
Most major highways remained open, according to the Federal Highway Administration. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel opened Friday after it was inspected, and other bridges are expected to reopen by Saturday, depending on the results of safety inspections, the agency said.
Government inspectors flew over North Carolina on Friday to assess the damage to roads.
Power outages caused trouble for at least one airport and some trains. Baltimore-Washington International Airport returned to normal operations Friday morning after shutting down briefly because of an electrical failure.
Passenger trains running south of Washington were suspended after the storm because of signal outages due to a lack of electricity, said Amtrak spokesman Dan Stessel.
But four -- two between New Orleans and New York, and two in North Carolina -- were being restored Saturday, he said. Service along the Boston-Washington Northeast Corridor was back to normal.
Service between Pittsburgh and New York was canceled as the storm moved through Pennsylvania on Friday, but was expected to be restored Saturday.