NASHVILLE — Thanksgiving travelers won't be delayed by construction-related lane closures on Tennessee roads during the busiest holiday period of the year, according to Transportation Commissioner John Schroer.
TDOT will halt all lane closure activity on interstates and state highways beginning at noon Wednesday in anticipation of higher traffic volumes across the state. All construction-related lane closures will continue through 6 a.m. Monday.
"Over a million travelers in Tennessee are expected to drive to their holiday destinations this year," Schroer said in a news release. "This is the most traveled holiday of the year."
Schroer said halting road work during the holiday period will "provide maximum capacity on our highways and help alleviate congestion, especially during the predicted peak travel days of Wednesday and Sunday."
The commissioner said TDOT's regional HELP trucks will be working throughout the holiday weekend to assist with incidents that may occur along the interstates.
While all lane closure activity will be stopped, workers may be on site in some construction zones, and motorists should keep an eye out for that.
Long-term lane closures will remain in place on some construction projects for motorists' safety.
Schroer's department is reminding motorists to drive safely and obey posted speeds, especially in work zones.
Drivers convicted of speeding in work zones where workers are present face fines of up to $500, plus court fees and possible increased insurance premiums.
Meanwhile, the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security and TDOT are partnering with law enforcement across the state for the I-40 Challenge, with the goal of having zero fatalities on the 455 miles of Interstate 40 in Tennessee.
On the peak travel days on Wednesday and Sunday, the Tennessee Highway Patrol will have troopers stationed every 20 miles on I-40, along with increased law enforcement on all highways.
AAA predicts 50.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more during the Thanksgiving holiday, an increase of 3.3 percent over last year.
Tennesseans make up 1.16 million of those travelers, with an estimated 1.1 million expected to travel by automobile.
Those wanting the latest on state construction activity and live streaming SmartWay traffic cameras can go to www.TNSmartWay.com/Traffic.
Travelers can dial 511 from any landline or cellular phone for travel information, or follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TN511 for statewide travel.
Drivers are reminded to use all motorist information tools wisely and Know Before You Go! by checking travel conditions before leaving for your destination. Drivers should never tweet, text or talk on a cellphone while behind the wheel.
In 2016, the Tennessee Department of Transportation said, the department lost three workers in the line of duty. All three were struck by passing motorists. The tragedies bring the total number of TDOT lives lost to 112.
"We don't want to lose another member of our TDOT family," the department stated in the news release. "We're asking you to work with us."
For more information on the program, go to https://www.tn.gov/tdot/section/work-with-us and click on the WORK WITH US logo.
This story was updated Nov. 20 at 11:10 p.m.