While the Labor Day holiday means a break from work for many people, it will also mean a break from lane closures on Georgia’s road for drivers.
The Georgia Department of Transportation announced it will suspend lane closures on interstates and major state highways that serve tourist and recreation attractions during the Labor Day weekend. The restriction is being put into place to accommodate travelers who are heading out of town for the final holiday of summer.
“Labor Day weekend is the last holiday of the summer and we expect heavy traffic statewide,” Georgia DOT State Construction Engineer John D. Hancock said in a statement.
“We are limiting construction and associated lane closures to make travel to Georgia’s mountains, beaches, parks and attractions easier and safer for all.”
The restriction goes into effect at noon Friday and last until 5 a.m. Tuesday. There is a caveat to the holiday treat, however: lane closures may still happen over the weekend if they are needed to accommodate responses to traffic accidents or if there is a road maintenance issue.
GDOT officials said 1,514 people died on roadways in Georgia over the course of 2018, and that unsafe driving behaviors caused the majority of preventable crashes in the state.
“During heavy travel holidays we typically see an increase in roadway fatalities,” Hancock said. “I urge drivers to slow down, drive alert and eliminate distractions. Buckle up, put down the cell phone and do not drive impaired. Focus on driving.”
GDOT also said some road crews may also be working this weekend, and that drivers will need to be careful as a result.
Some safety tips and reminders GDOT is also handing out ahead of the holiday weekend include:
♦ Obey Georgia’s hands-free cellphone law, which prohibits drivers from holding a cellphone or other electronic device while operating a vehicle.
♦ Pull off the road, if possible, and turn on the vehicle’s hazard lights in the event of a breakdown or crash — but do not get out of the vehicle in the middle of the roadway.
♦ Call GDOT’s HERO of CHAMP service at 511 if in need of roadside assistance in the event of a breakdown or crash.
♦ Obey Georgia’s Move Over Law, which requires drivers move over one lane, if possible, when approaching emergency vehicles which are on the side of the road.