ATLANTA – To ease the stresses of the holiday season, the Georgia Department of Transportation announced the suspension of construction-related lane closures on heavily traveled interstate highways and state routes near major shopping areas and tourist locations from 6 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, to 10 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 26, for the Christmas holiday.
Restrictions are also in place for the New Year’s holiday from 6 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31, to 5 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 2. The statewide lane restrictions allow motorists work-zone-free travel and reduced traffic congestion during the winter holidays.
“We anticipate heavy traffic throughout Georgia as people visit family and friends, shop and attend holiday events. In order to provide a safe and less congested roadway, we are limiting construction-related lane closures,” GDOT state Construction Engineer John D. Hancock said.
While lane closures will be suspended, the department encourages travelers to exercise caution as work zone crews may still be in close proximity to 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.
To help ensure this season of joy is not marred by tragedy, GDOT advises holiday revelers to avoid drinking and driving during the party season. Please designate a sober driver in advance or utilize a ride-share or taxi service.
Motorists are also reminded to drive defensively and exercise extra caution during the season. Slow down and “Drive Alert Arrive Alive.” Put down the cell phone and make sure you and your passengers buckle up. Always maintain a proper speed that is safe for current roadway conditions. As temperatures drop, any amount of precipitation can freeze and create a hazardous road condition.
Should inclement weather occur during the season, Georgia DOT is ready to respond with the following equipment, materials and staff readily available:
- More than 1,900 employees on call
- Capacity to store 885,500 gallons of brine
- Ability to produce 50,000 gallons of brine per hour
- 71,286 tons of gravel
- 56 road weather sensors
- 386 snow removal units
- 80 F-250 pickups with plows and spreaders
- More than 53,000 tons of salt to cover almost 40,000 lane miles
For up-to-date information about travel conditions on Georgia’s interstates and state routes, call 511 or visit www.511ga.org 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.