Tennessee Halts Lane Closure Activity for Holiday Travelers

Nashville, TN (2009-12-18) Holiday travelers should enjoy a smooth drive through Tennessee during the busy Christmas and New Year’s travel holiday.  The Tennessee Department of Transportation is once again halting all lane closure activity on interstates and state highways in anticipation of higher traffic volumes across the state.  

No lane temporary lane closures will be allowed for construction on Tennessee roadways beginning at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 23, 2009 through 6:00 a.m. on Monday, January 4, 2010.

“Many Tennesseans traditionally take advantage of the opportunity to travel to visit family and friends during this holiday period,” said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely.  “We want to ensure that motorists traveling in Tennessee arrive at their destinations safely and with as little disruption as possible.”

Except for a few long-term closures which must remain in place for safety, all construction related closures will be suspended.  Workers will also be on site in some construction zones.  Drivers should obey all posted speed limits, particularly in construction areas.  Slower speeds are necessary in work zones due to the temporary layout of the roadway and will be enforced.  Drivers convicted of speeding through work zones where workers are present face a fine of $250 to $500, plus court fees and possible increased insurance premiums.

“Drivers can expect to see increased law enforcement on the roads throughout the holiday with a particular focus on stopping drivers who are impaired,” said Governor’s Highway Safety Office Director Kendell Poole. “We want everyone to have a safe holiday so remember to buckle up, drive the speed limit and don’t get behind the wheel of a vehicle if you’ve had anything to drink.”

AAA predicts holiday travel will increase 3% in Tennessee.  An estimated 1.3 million are expected to travel by automobile in the volunteer state and another 40,000 are anticipated to travel by air for a total of 1.46 million travelers.  Across the U.S. 87.7 million are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home this year.

Motorists in the eastern part of Tennessee will have to detour around two rockslides that have closed I-40 in North Carolina and U.S. 64 in Polk County, Tennessee near Chattanooga.  Motorists can find more information on both rockslides, including detours, by visiting the TDOT web site, www.tn.gov/tdot.

For up-to-date travel information, motorists may call 511 from any land line or cellular phone or visit www.TN511.com.   TDOT is also on Twitter.  For statewide travel tweets follow www.twitter.com/TN511.   Motorists are reminded to use all motorist information tools responsibly.  Drivers should refrain from texting, tweeting or using a mobile phone while operating a vehicle.  Drivers should “Know before you go!” and check traffic conditions before leaving for your destination.