Extended holiday weekend means lots of traffic in NC, suspended road closures

North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT)– Predicting a busy Thanksgiving weekend, N.C. Department of Transportation is suspending most construction activity along its major highways to keep lanes open for holiday travelers.

The work shutdown along interstates, the U.S. and key N.C. routes are expected to go from November 26 through December 2.

There are exceptions where construction conditions make it unsafe to open all lanes, including some locations where lanes are under construction or where a bridge is being replaced and there is no roadway.

Work that doesn’t affect travel lanes can also continue for some projects.

Wednesday afternoon/evening will be the busiest time for travel, with heavy congestion expected on interstates such as I-95, I-77, I-85, I-40 and I-26, and interstates in urban areas.

Sunday will be another big travel day as people head home. 

Motorists can also see how busy roads were for last year’s Thanksgiving heaviest travel days to give them an idea of what they could be dealing with this year.

Drivers are urged to use caution through the extended weekend and obey posted speed limits, even in work zones where no construction activity is taking place.

Folks here in the east are taking extra precautions as they head in to the holiday weekend.

“The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel days of the year. My husband talked about my 15 year-old practicing some of her driving, but I thought maybe not with all the Thanksgiving traffic,” said Stephanie Bacon, Greenville resident.

Here are some additional tips for safe driving during the holiday season: 

  • Leave early to get a head start, and travel at non-peak hours if possible;
  • Use alternative routes if possible, to avoid traffic congestion;
  • Allow extra time for your trip, especially if traveling on Wednesday or Sunday, regardless of the route you choose;
  • To avoid drowsy driving, travel at times you are normally awake and take frequent breaks;
  • Avoid distracted driving;
  • If you will be drinking alcohol, do not drive at all;
  • Pay extra attention on the roadway and to vehicles that are nearby; and
  • All drivers and passengers need to be wearing their seatbelts.

The annual Thanksgiving Click It or Ticket campaign will be in place from November 25 through December 1.

If you are stopped and are not wearing a seat belt, you could receive a fine up to $179.

Law enforcement will be out in full force enforcing speeding, drunk driving and seat belt laws in all 100 counties. 

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