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TDOT paves the way for travel plans

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No lane-closures on Tennessee highways during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Thanksgiving travelers will enjoy a smooth drive through Tennessee during the busy 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.    Construction crews will pack up their tool belts and all lane closures will be removed beginning at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 25 until 6 a.m. Monday, Nov.  30.

"As more than a million people travel by car to visit family and friends this holiday, we want to ensure that their trips are not interrupted by road construction," said Gerald F. Nicely, Commissioner of Transportation for the state of Tennessee. "By halting all lane closure activity between Wednesday and Monday, we're providing travelers with maximum roadway capacity during this busy travel holiday."

While lane closure activity will be stopped, some workers may be on site in some construction zones and reduced speed limits will still be in effect. Motorists are urged to adhere to all posted speed limits, especially in work zones, for their own safety. 

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 this Thanksgiving holiday," 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 be up slightly this Thanksgiving. An estimated one million people are expected to travel by automobile in Tennessee. Across the U.S. 38.4 million are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home this year which is a 1.4% increase over 2008 when 37.8 million traveled for the holiday. Of the 38.4 million travelers nationwide, 86% plan to drive to their destinations.

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.

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