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Georgia DOT predicts best and worst travel times during holiday
Best travel times

ATLANTA — To allow for anticipated increase in holiday traffic, Georgia Department of Transportation announced today the suspension of lane closures on Georgia interstates and state routes.

The suspension will begin Wednesday, Nov. 24, at 5 a.m. and run until 10 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 28. 

The statewide lane closure restrictions will help to reduce traffic congestion during the Thanksgiving holiday. Similar restrictions will be in place for Christmas and New Year’s, a news release stated.

While construction related lane closures will be suspended, the department reminds travelers to exercise caution as crews may still work near highways, and safety concerns may require some long-term lane closures to remain in place. 

In addition, incident management or emergency, maintenance-related lane closures could become necessary at any time on any route.

“By limiting lane closures during the holiday season, we hope to promote a safer, less congested traveling experience,” said GDOT State Construction Engineer John D. Hancock. 

“Unfortunately, we have seen a noticeable increase in motor vehicle fatalities nationwide due to distracted driving, speeding and driving under the influence,” he said. 

“This holiday season and always, we encourage all drivers to put down the cellphones, buckle up, slow down and drive sober."

Based on travel volume data following Labor Day Weekend 2021, it is predicted that Thanksgiving travel volumes will return to pre-pandemic levels this year. 

Those needing to travel this holiday should keep in mind the following Thanksgiving travel forecast for metro Atlanta interstates: 

• Heavy congestion on Friday, Nov. 19, prior to typical Thanksgiving travel days

• Heaviest traffic and congestion on Wednesday, Nov. 24, between the hours of noon and 6 p.m.

• Light traffic beginning Thursday, Nov. 25, until Saturday, Nov. 27.

Additionally, historical Thanksgiving travel data from 2019 and 2020 for major interstates outside of metro Atlanta have shown the following trends starting from the afternoon of Wednesday, Nov. 24 to early evening of Sunday, November 28:  

• I-20 eastbound congestion on Wednesday, November 24 heading into metro Atlanta; westbound congestion Sunday, Nov. 28, heading out of the city towards Alabama. 

• I-24 is expected to have eastbound congestion

• I-75 is predicted to have heavy congestion southbound and northbound coming out of Atlanta in Stockbridge. 

• I-85 congestion near the South Carolina and Alabama borders

• I-95 northbound congestion in Savannah.

The GDOT release says those needing to travel during the week of Thanksgiving should keep the below tips in mind before hitting the road. 

• The best time for travel is in the morning, before 10 a.m. 

• Traffic volumes begin to increase in the afternoon after noon, when drivers are departing work early or finishing last-minute shopping lists. 

• If traveling in or around metro Atlanta on Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 24, plan to add 30 to 45 minutes to travel time due to increased congestion. 

For up-to-date information about travel conditions on Georgia’s interstates and state routes, call 511 or visit before heading out. 511 is a free service that provides real-time statewide information on Georgia’s interstates and state routes, including traffic conditions, incidents, lane closures and delays due to inclement weather 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Callers can also transfer to operators to request HERO assistance in metro Atlanta or CHAMP service on highways in other regions of the state.