No Non-Essential Lane Closures During Busiest Travel Times on State Highways
Reminds Travelers to Drive Safely, Stay Sober and Use Text Stops to Make Calls or Text
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that temporary lane closures for road and bridge construction projects on New York State highways will be suspended during peak holiday travel times over the next two weekends to ease travel for residents and visitors. The construction suspension supports Governor Cuomo's Drivers First initiative, which prioritizes the convenience of motorists to minimize traffic congestion and travel delays due to road and bridge work.
"The holiday season is one of the busiest travel times of the year, and our top priority is to ensure travelers reach their destinations safely to enjoy the holiday with loved ones," Governor Cuomo said. "I urge all drivers to be responsible on the roads, stay alert and never drink and drive."
All road construction work behind temporary lane closures is ceasing from 6 a.m. Friday, December 21 until 6 a.m. Wednesday, December 26. Construction will also be suspended from 6 a.m. Saturday, December 29, through 6 a.m. Wednesday, January 2. Some work may continue behind concrete barriers or for emergency repairs.
New Yorkers are reminded that state and local law enforcement are participating in the national "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign, which runs through Tuesday, January 1, 2019. Motorists can expect to see sobriety checkpoints and more New York State Troopers on the roadways during the holiday travel season. The New York State Thruway Authority will also continue its 48-year tradition of offering free coffee and hot tea to travelers at all 27 travel plazas along the Thruway from 11 p.m. New Year's Eve through 7 a.m. New Year's morning to promote safe and alert driving.
Travelers are encouraged to use 64 text stops, as well as Service Areas, Rest Areas and Welcome Centers located statewide as needed for texting, making phone calls, and other non-driving tasks.
Motorists are also urged to follow the state's Move Over Law, which requires motorists to drive with care, slow down and safely move over when approaching law enforcement vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances, tow trucks and construction or maintenance vehicles that are stopped along roads across the state. The law was enacted in 2011 to protect New Yorkers working along the roadway and has since been expanded to include a wider range of emergency and hazard vehicles.
There will be slight variations for certain Thruway projects based on previous traffic volume. A detailed schedule of Thruway lane closures throughout the holiday weekend is available here.
New York State Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Paul A. Karas said, "The holiday season is a special time of year that should be spent in the company of family and friends and not in construction-related traffic jams. As part of Governor Cuomo's Drivers First program, motorists will be able to get to and from their destinations quicker and easier this holiday season. Our crews will be back out there in full force after the holidays. I urge motorists to drive cautiously, have patience in work zones, and please treat our workers with the respect they deserve."
Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll said, "This holiday travel season, we encourage motorists to make safety a priority. Move over for emergency vehicles, give snow plows plenty of room, and be responsible and alert. We want everyone, including our workers and emergency responders, to be able to spend the holidays with their families. We join Governor Cuomo in wishing you a safe and happy holiday season."
DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner and Acting Chair of the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee Terri Egan said, "As this is one of the busiest travel times of the year, Governor Cuomo's initiative to suspend construction is not only convenient for drivers, it also promotes safety on our roads. Travelers should still remember that if they encounter emergency vehicles on the side of the road, they are required to move over if they can safely do so. We encourage drivers to be mindful of this so that everyone, motorists and workers alike, can get home safely and enjoy the holidays with their families and loved ones."
The Thruway Authority encourages motorists to download its mobile app which is available to download for free on iPhone and Android devices. The app provides motorists direct access to real-time traffic and navigation assistance while on the go. Motorists can also sign up for TRANSalert e-mails which provide the latest traffic conditions along the Thruway here.
For real-time travel information, motorists should check New York State's official traffic and travel information source, 511NY, before traveling. Call 5-1-1, visit http://www.511ny.org/ or download the free 511NY mobile app on iTunes or Google Play. The free service allows users to check road conditions, view traffic cameras and link to air and transit information. The app features Drive mode, which provides audible alerts along a chosen route while a user is driving, warning them about incidents and construction.
DMV urges drivers to use the Have a Plan app to help find a safe way home from a celebration where they may be drinking. The free app from the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee and the NYS STOP-DWI Foundation allows you to designate a driver, call a cab or ride share, and to review the consequences of impaired driving. You can even use the app to report a drunk or drugged driver. The app is available for Apple, Android, and Windows smart phones.