Extended Holiday Weekend Means Lots of Traffic and Suspended Road Closures

Predicting a busy Thanksgiving weekend, the 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, U.S. and key N.C. routes is expected to go from Tuesday morning, Nov. 26, through Monday evening, Dec. 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. 

Drivers can check on the status of the highways they plan to use by going to DriveNC.gov before they start their trip or having a passenger do so to get an update while on the road. It provides the status of roads by route, county or region and is updated 24 hours a day. 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.

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 seat belts.

The annual Thanksgiving Click It or Ticket campaign will be in place from Monday, Nov. 25 through Sunday, Dec. 1. Law enforcement will be out in full force enforcing speeding, drunk driving and seat belt laws in all 100 counties.