Road warriors, start your engines, because the Tennessee Department of Transportation plans to suspend all road construction during the busy Memorial Day weekend, making it easier for motorists to enjoy holiday travel.
Other neighboring states, including Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina, plan to follow the same course of action as AAA expects 34 million travelers nationwide to take long-awaited road trips.
In Tennessee, construction-related lane closures will be suspended at noon on Friday, May 28, on all interstates and state highways and will remain in effect until 6 a.m. Tuesday, June 1.
“Suspending construction-related lane closures during the Memorial Day weekend will lessen congestion and delays on Tennessee’s major highways,” said TDOT Commissioner Clay Bright. “We want to do our part to help everyone have an enjoyable and safe holiday weekend and keep traffic flowing as smoothly and efficiently as possible.”
This does not mean Tennessee motorists will not face any delays; long-term construction projects are already underway in the state and have required some ongoing lane closures and restrictions. Also, some work zones have reduced speed limits that will remain in effect during the weekend.
Road travel this holiday weekend is expected to increase 52 percent, compared to 2020, AAA says. Some 12 million more Americans will travel by car this holiday than during the same time last year when COVID-19 fears prompted wide-ranging business closures, forcing travelers to stay home.
But now, pandemic-weary Americans are ready to hit the road and many Tennesseans are thinking about a beach vacation. But to get there from here, you have to visit the neighbors, who also want to reduce obstacles for easier interstate travel.
In neighboring Georgia, construction-related lane closures on interstates and major state routes will be suspended starting at noon on Friday, May 28 and continuing to 5 a.m. on Tuesday, June 1. The Georgia Department of Transportation says crews may still be working nearby and drivers should remain alert. Georgia rest area and welcome center restrooms are open.
In South Carolina, the state prohibits lane closures on interstate highways for non-emergency highway work during the Memorial Day Weekend. These restrictions will be in place from 6 a.m. Friday, May 28, until 6 a.m. Tuesday, June 1. However, the state has several work zones because of ongoing road and bridge infrastructure projects.
In Alabama, there will be no temporary lane closures on interstates after noon on Friday, May 28, through 11:59 p.m. Monday, May 31. Also, drivers on Alabama interstates must travel in the right lane unless they are passing another vehicle. There are exceptions if motorists encounter road hazards, traffic congestion or if they are moving over to make room for emergency vehicles.
And those emergency vehicles will be out there. Count on that.
“Traffic is picking back up and with it speeding and distracted driving crashes. State troopers will work to enforce traffic laws to reduce crashes and traffic fatalities across the state,” said Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Jeff Long, in a prepared press release.
State transportation officials around the region are encouraging drivers to buckle up, slow down and enjoy the long-anticipated ride.