Travelers hit the road for holiday

By Ed Brock

Moderate weather, a heightened national terrorist alert and the statewide "Click It or Ticket" seat belt law enforcement program will all be factors travelers should consider this Memorial Day weekend.

More than 800,000 Georgians are expected to hit the road this weekend according to the AAA Auto Club South. And the Georgia State Patrol is predicting 2,500 crashes with 682 injuries and 21 fatalities between 6 p.m. Friday, when the holiday weekend officially starts and its conclusion at midnight Monday.

And the escalation of the Homeland Security terror alert level to orange, or "high," recently is not expected to affect vehicular traffic, GSP spokesman Gordy Wright said.

"These two days are typically the heaviest traveled of the holiday period each year," State Patrol Commander Col. George Ellis said in a statement. "We want everyone to remember that safety must be a priority."

State troopers and local police will also be operating road checks and heavy patrols as part of the "Click It or Ticket" mobilization that began Monday.

"We'll have extra people out doing traffic enforcement," Forest Park Police Capt. Chris Matson said. "Usually when you have a Monday holiday traffic is heavier on Sunday."

But Jonesboro police are expecting the holiday to be fairly quite.

"These types of holidays, people usually stay at home," Jonesboro police Maj. Freeman Poole said.

The Memorial Day weekend weather is expected to be partly cloudy with temperatures in the high 70s to low 80s, according to the National Weather Service. The lows should be in the 60s.

Those who are traveling are urged to plan their trips carefully, don't drink and drive and buckle up.

"If you will be transporting children, take the time to make sure they are properly restrained as well," Ellis said.

Meanwhile, Georgia DOT Commissioner Tom Coleman announced Thursday that all scheduled and ongoing statewide construction-related, multiple lane closures have been suspended from noon today through Monday.

The closures will resume on Tuesday.

"We want to make sure that there is little to no inconvenience on our roadway and that the highways are able to carry their full capacity for the weekend and Memorial Day travelers," Coleman said.

The only exception will be the emergency repairs on Roswell Road near I-285 in Fulton County where a triple lane closure will remain in place for an estimated six weeks.

Also the road widening project on I-95 in Liberty and Camden counties will continue without any lane closures or interference to traffic flow, Coleman said.