The Georgia Department of Transportation (Georgia DOT) recently announced the suspension of lane closures on Georgia interstates and state routes beginning Wednesday, November 24, at 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. Sunday, November 28. These statewide lane closure restrictions will help to reduce traffic congestion during the Thanksgiving holiday. Similar restrictions will be in place for Christmas and New Year’s.

While construction related lane closures will be suspended, the department reminds travelers to exercise caution as crews may still work near highways, and safety concerns may require some long-term lane closures to remain in place. In addition, incident management or emergency, maintenance-related lane closures could become necessary at any time on any route.

“By limiting lane closures during the holiday season, we hope to promote a safer, less congested traveling experience,” said Georgia DOT State Construction Engineer John D. Hancock. “Unfortunately, we have seen a noticeable increase in motor vehicle fatalities nationwide due to distracted driving, speeding and driving under the influence. This holiday season and always, we encourage all drivers to put down the cellphones, buckle up, slow down and drive sober."

Based on travel volume data following Labor Day Weekend 2021, it is predicted that Thanksgiving travel volumes will return to pre-pandemic levels this year. The DOT asks travelers keep in mind the following Thanksgiving travel forecast for metro Atlanta interstates:

  • Heavy congestion on Friday, November 19, prior to typical Thanksgiving travel days
  • Heaviest traffic and congestion on Wednesday, November 24, between the hours of 12 p.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Light traffic beginning Thursday, November 25, until Saturday, November 27

Additionally, historical Thanksgiving travel data from 2019 and 2020 for major interstates outside of metro Atlanta have shown the following trends starting from the afternoon of Wednesday, November 24, to early evening of Sunday, November 28:

  • I-20 eastbound congestion on Wednesday, November 24 heading into metro Atlanta; westbound congestion Sunday, November 28 heading out of the city towards Alabama.
  • I-24 is expected to have eastbound congestion
  • I-75 is predicted to have heavy congestion southbound and northbound coming out of Atlanta in Stockbridge.
  • I-85 congestion near the South Carolina and Alabama borders
  • I-95 northbound congestion in Savannah.

If you find yourself needing to travel during the week of Thanksgiving, the DOT offers the following tips:

  • The best time for travel is in the morning, before 10 am.
  • Traffic volumes begin to increase in the afternoon after 12 pm, when drivers are departing work early or finishing last-minute shopping lists.
  • If traveling in or around metro Atlanta on Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 24, plan to add 30-45 minutes to your travel time due to increased congestion.

For up-to-date information about travel conditions on Georgia’s interstates and state routes, call 511 or visit www.511ga.org before heading out. 511 is a free service that provides real-time statewide information on Georgia’s interstates and state routes, including traffic conditions, incidents, lane closures and delays due to inclement weather 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Callers can also transfer to operators to request HERO assistance in metro Atlanta or CHAMP service on highways in other regions of the state.

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