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Memorial Day travel: Stay safe on the roadways; know before you go

Over the Memorial Day weekend, the N.C. Department of Transportation will pause most road construction activities that require lane closures on major routes across the state to help holiday travelers have smoother trips. By avoiding traffic delays, motorists can reach their destinations safely and efficiently.

NCDOT will suspend most construction projects along interstate, N.C. and U.S. routes from 6 a.m. onFriday, May 25, until 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 29.

There will be some exceptions, including;

  • I-85 will have two of four lanes closed nightly between Exit 173 (Cole Mill Road) and Exit 178 (U.S. 70);
  • I-85 between Henderson and the Virginia state line will continue to have traffic in a two-lane, two-way pattern;
  • I-40 westbound near Mocksville will continue to have its right lane closed for paving and patching between mile markers 173 and 168;
  • Construction lanes will still be narrowed on I-77 near Mooresville from Exit 36 to Exit 11 going both directions;
  • U.S. 421 will have two of four lanes closed in both directions near Wilkesboro;
  • Cape Fear Memorial Bridge electrical and mechanical repairs will continue in Wilmington and one of two lanes will be closed for both directions of travel;
  • I-26 will have a lane closed in both directions between mile markers 12 and 18 near Weaverville; and
  • U.S. 74 near Columbus will have lanes closed in both directions between mile markers 168 and 174.

And for travelers heading to West Virginia via I-77, an extensive paving project in that state near the Virginia border may cause major traffic delays in both directions near the East River Mountain Tunnel.

Here are some tips for safely navigating the highways during the Memorial Day 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;
  • Stay informed. Real-time travel information is available at www.DriveNC.gov, by calling 511, or byfollowing NCDOT on Twitter;
  • 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.

Also, be aware that the Highway Patrol and local law enforcement are taking part in the annual Memorial Day Click It or Ticket campaign, looking for drivers and passengers who are not using their seat belts.

While you are traveling this Memorial Day weekend, your job is to be a safe driver. Focus on the road and let everything else wait until you arrive at your destination.

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