News release from Department of Transportation:
NASHVILLE – Holiday travelers should enjoy a smooth drive through Tennessee during the busy Christmas and New Year’s travel holidays. The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) is once again 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 beginning at noon on Friday, December 23, 2011 through 6:00 a.m. on Monday, January 2, 2012.
“Nearly two million Tennesseans are expected to hit the roads to visit family and friends during this busy holiday travel period,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “We want to do everything possible to minimize delays and provide maximum capacity on Tennessee roadways. We also want drivers to obey the rules of the road and arrive safely at their destinations.”
Except for a few long-term closures which must remain in place for safety, all construction related closures will be suspended during the holiday period. Workers may still 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 nearly 2% in Tennessee this year, with more than 1.8 million expected to travel by automobile in the volunteer state between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Across the U.S. 83.6 million people are expected to drive to their year-end holiday destinations, which represents 30% of the total U.S. population.
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. Smart phone users can use the TDOT SmartWay Mobile website at http://m.tdot.tn.gov/SmartWay/ to access TDOT’s SmartWay cameras, incident information and messages displayed on overhead Dynamic Message Signs. 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.