Construction-Related Lane Closures Limited to Ease Travel During Holiday Weekend
Motorists Urged to Slow Down and Move Over for Roadside Emergency and Maintenance Vehicles
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that temporary lane closures for road and bridge construction projects on New York State highways will be suspended from 6 a.m. on Friday, May 28 to 6 a.m. on Tuesday, June 1, to ease travel throughout Memorial Day weekend. The suspension of construction 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. Drivers should keep in mind that in some cases, road work may continue behind permanent concrete barriers or for emergency repairs. Motorists are also urged to abide by New York's Move Over Law and to utilize the 64 text stops located statewide as needed for texting, making phone calls, and other non-driving tasks.
"Memorial Day is one of the busiest travel holidays of the year and we want every New Yorker to enjoy the weekend and get where they need to go safely and efficiently," Governor Cuomo said. "We will be suspending all road and bridge construction throughout the weekend to minimize delays for travelers on the roads. As always, I urge everyone on the roads this weekend to drive safely, to remember to move over for roadside emergency and maintenance vehicles and to utilize text stops to avoid distracted driving."
New York's Move Over Law 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 2010 to protect first responders and expanded in 2011 to include tow operators and those working along the roadway. It has since been expanded to include a wider range of emergency and hazard vehicles.
Text stops, including park-and-ride facilities, rest stops, service areas and parking areas along state highways support the state's efforts to reduce distracted driving. All text stops will remain open, providing a location where drivers can safely and conveniently use their phones and other mobile devices for calling, texting, navigating and accessing mobile apps. Texting while driving is especially dangerous, as it requires motorists to take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel and mind off driving.
All welcome centers, rest areas and text stops within New York State remain open and rest rooms and vending services continue to be available. To enhance public safety and prevent spread of COVID-19, enhanced cleaning measures at rest stops and welcome centers have been implemented.
State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, "Memorial Day weekend marks the traditional start of the summer season and New Yorkers are eager to celebrate this year as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. Suspending temporary lane closures for the weekend will allow motorists to get where they need to go with minimum delays. I urge everyone on the roads this weekend to drive safely - put down your phones, pay attention and remember to move over for roadside emergency and maintenance vehicles and to utilize text stops to avoid distracted driving."
New York State Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll said, "This Memorial Day weekend, many New Yorkers will be traveling for the first time since the pandemic began more than a year ago. We want travelers to reach their destinations safely, and encourage drivers to slow down, be patient, and limit distractions while on the road. Construction work is on hold for the long holiday weekend; however, emergency and roadside workers will still be on patrol. If you see flashing lights - slow down, safely move over, and be alert. Together, we can all enjoy the long holiday weekend and go home safely to our families."
DMV Commissioner and GTSC Chair Mark J.F. Schroeder said, "We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend and not have their holiday marred by a needless tragedy caused by impaired or distracted driving. I urge everyone to have a plan to make sure you won't be driving under the influence, and please always slow down and move over when approaching stopped emergency and maintenance vehicles."
AAA predicts a significant rebound in the number of Americans planning to travel this Memorial Day holiday weekend. From May 27 through May 31, more than 37 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home, an increase of 60% from last year.
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.
Travelers can check NYSDOT's 511NY before traveling, by calling 5-1-1, visiting the 511 website here, or downloading the free 511NY mobile app on iTunes or Google Play. The free service allows users to check road conditions, view 2219 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.
The Department of Motor Vehicles 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 users to designate a driver, call a cab or ride share, and to review the consequences of impaired driving. Users can even use the app to report a drunk or drugged driver. The app is available for Apple, Android, and Windows smart phones.