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Fourth of July travel: Staying safe and traveling smart

RALEIGH Over the Fourth of July weekend, the N.C. Department of Transportation will stop most road construction on major routes statewide to facilitate safe holiday travel. By planning routes ahead of time and staying informed, motorists can reach their destinations more efficiently and avoid traffic delays.

NCDOT will suspend construction projects along interstate, N.C. and U.S. routes from 6 a.m. Friday, June 30, until midnightWednesday, July 5 with these exceptions:

  • The flyover ramp from Interstate 40 East at Exit 283 to I-540 East will be closed. There are four short detour routes available. Motorists who take Exit 279 off I-40 onto southbound N.C. 147, then take Exit 1 to I-540 East will be exempt from the Triangle Expressway toll. Motorists who exit that stretch of southbound N.C. 147 at Hopson Road or N.C. 540 South will not be exempt from the toll;
  • U.S. 15-501 will have one lane closed at a time from Latta Road to the Person County line;
  • On I-85 between Henderson and the Virginia state line traffic will flow in a two-lane, two-way pattern over 20 miles, with alternate routes available to get around potential major backups.
  • Bragg Boulevard in Cumberland Countywill be closed between Rowan and West Rowan Streets for a sewer line installation;
  • In Catawba County, the eastbound lane of U.S. 70 will be closed from Seventh Street in Hickory to Lenoir Rhyne Boulevard;
  • N.C. 215, six miles south of the Blue Ridge Parkway, is closed for bridge construction;
  • U.S. 441 Business between N.C. 28/Highlands Road and Depot Street will be restricted to two lanes in Macon County for replacement of the bridge on the northbound side; and

For real-time travel information, visit DriveNC.gov or follow NCDOT on Twitter.

Here are some tips for safely navigating the highways during the Fourth of July weekend:

  • Leave early to get a head start on your drive. Travel at non-peak hours when possible;
  • Stay alert. Even if work is suspended, you may encounter narrowed lanes and traffic shifts in work zones;
  • Be patient and obey the posted speed limit;
  • Use alternate routes, when possible, to avoid traffic congestion;
  • Don’t drive drowsy. Travel at times when you are normally awake, and take frequent breaks; and
  • Avoid distracted driving. When drivers stop focusing on the road ahead, they react more slowly to traffic conditions and are more likely to be involved in an accident.

When you are traveling this Fourth of July weekend, your sole responsibility is to be a safe driver. Focus on the road and minimize your distractions.

In addition, the annual “Booze It & Lose It: Operation Firecracker” campaign runs June 30 through July 9. Law enforcement officers are setting up additional sobriety checkpoints in every county in the state to target impaired drivers and prevent highway fatalities. If you plan to drink, designate a sober driver, download a ride app, or take a cab or bus so everyone on the roads stays safe this holiday weekend.

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