Tania Mashburn, spokesperson for UDOT, has the early heads up.
The Thanksgiving holiday (Wed-Sun) is the most traveled period of the year, with 94 percent of travelers, or 39.7 million people, reaching their destination by driving and going more than 50 miles (Bureau of Transportation Statistics; AAA).
We check our cars, the weather report, get our oil changed, stock up on snacks, but something we don’t always do is check to see what If we’ll be traveling through construction areas and where it might add time to our schedule.
With many road construction projects still underway through the winter months, it is important for you to plan ahead and know about any construction work that may delay your plans.
The good news is most work is either complete for the season or will be postponed over the holiday weekend. However, areas of reduced speeds, narrowed lanes and shoulders and other restrictions will be in place, especially on the I-15 CORE project in Utah County – a major thoroughfare for travelers going to north and south parts of the state.
Tips for reducing delays:
o Avoid Commute Times: Never leave during commute time.
o Leave Earlier or Later: Consider leaving a day earlier and staying a day longer if possible. The heaviest travel days are Wednesday and Sunday (the highest).
o Plan Ahead: Plan ahead and know where potential construction delays may be and any options for alternatives. Use the interactive map that displays the major construction projects at www.UDOT.Utah.Gov/knowwhereknowwhy.
o Carpool to Events/Trips: Fewer cars on the road equal less congestion.
o Be Patient and Courteous: We want everyone to arrive safely to their destinations and in a good mood.
In addition, winter weather is coming and it’s important for drivers to follow some basic winter weather driving tips especially when driving in a construction zone.
Tips for winter weather driving:
o Be cautious: Winter weather causes rain, snow and ice and creates difficult driving conditions. Avoid abrupt actions while steering, braking or accelerating to lessen your chance of losing control and give yourself plenty of space between vehicles ahead.
o Check for changes: Construction will continue in many areas during the winter as conditions allow, however, dates for expected closures and work can change without a lot of advance notice.
o Plan ahead for delays: Road construction restrictions can add additional delays, especially when weather conditions are bad. Plan for extra time so you’re not putting yourself at risk rushing to your destination in bad weather.
o Avoid the shoulder: If you do have an incident or car trouble, it is important in areas with little or no shoulder that you try to pull off at the nearest exit. If you are not able to pull off the freeway, on I-15 CORE, where shoulders have been reduced for construction activities, wait in your vehicle and someone will be by shortly. We have a Courtesy Patrol that is driving the 24-mile stretch back and forth 24-7 and is a free service to help you with things like flat tires and gas.
o Watch for snowplows: Use extreme caution when passing a snowplow and never pass on the right side, or on the shoulder of the road. The safest place to be in a storm is behind a snow plow. Never pass a snowplow’s cloud, which is the snow thrown when in operation. Be sure to stay back about 300 feet.
• The best thing you can do is stay informed. There are a number of ways you can do this:
o Interactive maps (Know Where Know Why, I-15 CORE). We recently made some exciting updates to the UDOT website that you can customize cameras and projects that you most want to see.
o Sign up for email updates at UDOT.Utah.Gov
o Text “UDOT” to 53535 or for specific information on I-15 CORE text “i15” to 53535
o Twitter and Facebook links on UDOT.Utah.Gov
o CommuterLink for real-time traffic