RALEIGH – The state will temporarily suspend most highway construction projects that cause lane closures to help reduce the anticipated influx of traffic over the July Fourth holiday weekend.
The N.C. Department of Transportation will reopen closed lanes where possible on major routes from Thursday evening, July 2, until the morning of July 7. This means, for instance, drivers in the Triangle, Triad and Charlotte regions will not encounter lane closures on major routes over the holiday.
Heavy traffic is expected next weekend, particularly on interstates and other four-lane, divided highways. Reopening lanes on projects can reduce traffic backups and delays.
There are some locations, however, where the type of construction or the status of the project requires lane closures to remain in place for safety reasons.
Drivers can check the status of the route they plan to take in advance by going to DriveNC.gov. They can also follow NCDOT on Twitter to track travel updates by region or route.
The NCDOT encourages drivers to follow these safety tips:
- Leave early. Travel at non-peak hours and use alternative routes to avoid the heaviest traffic congestion.
- Stay alert. Even when work is paused, you may encounter narrowed lanes, shifts in traffic and lower speed limits through work zones.
- Be patient.
- Don’t drive drowsy. For extended drives, take frequent breaks to remain alert.
- Don’t drive distracted. When drivers are not focused on the road, they react slowly to traffic conditions and are more likely to be involved in a crash.
Drivers should also be aware that the Fourth of July is a time for law enforcement to crack down on drunk driving. The N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program will run its Operation Firecracker campaign from June 29 through July 5, geared toward catching people who are driving under the influence.
This year, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program is soliciting motorists to encourage everyone to support sober driving by adorning their vehicles with messages in window chalk that read #KeysFreeNC. To avoid being arrested or causing a crash, people who drink alcohol should rely on a designated driver, or call a friend, use a ride-share service or take a cab home.