Driving made easier

TDOT construction policy to make driving safer, smoother over holidays
Dec. 24, 2012 @ 08:00 AM


Highways are sure to be crowded in the coming days as people hit the road to visit family for Christmas and New Year’s holidays. One thing that won’t slow them down, at least on Tennessee roadways, is construction. The Tennessee Department of Transportation is continuing its tradition of stopping virtually all highway construction work and lane closures during holiday periods.

TDOT is halting all lane closure activity on interstates and state highways in anticipation of higher traffic volumes across the state. No temporary lane closures will be allowed for construction on Tennessee roadways from Saturday, Dec. 22, through 6 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 2. This is a nice gift to motorists from TDOT.

“Two million drivers are expected to travel Tennessee roadways during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, and we want to do everything possible to minimize delays,” said Commissioner John Schroer. “We also want everyone to arrive at their destinations safely — so buckle up, reduce your speed, avoid distractions, and always designate a sober driver.”  

Except for a few long-term closures which must remain in place for safety, all construction-related closures will be suspended.  Workers may still be on site in some construction zones. Drivers should obey all posted speed limits, particularly in construction areas. That’s understandable and probably will affect speed limits through the Highway 66 bridge construction project. But the major work will be stopped.

Drivers will see an increased law enforcement presence during the holiday period, with a focus on stopping impaired drivers. That will be relevant especially over the New Year’s Day period when too many motorists like to drink and drive.  

AAA predicts holiday travel will increase nearly 2 percent in Tennessee, with 2 million expected to travel by automobile in the volunteer state between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Across the U.S., 84.4 million people are expected to drive to their year-end holiday destinations. Americans will travel an estimated 760 miles round trip.

If you are driving to a holiday destination, please be careful. Obey the speed limits and report apparently unsafe drivers to the authorities.And enjoy the absence of road construction crews.