Construction-Related Lane Closures Limited to Ease Travel During Busy Holiday Weekend
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that non-emergency related road and bridge construction projects on New York State highways will be suspended from 6 a.m. on Friday, May 25, to 6 a.m. on Tuesday, May 29, to accommodate increased travel throughout Memorial Day weekend. The construction suspension is in keeping with 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 Governor is also urging motorists 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.
"As New Yorkers set out to enjoy Memorial Day weekend, we will be suspending all nonessential state roadway construction projects so travelers can get to their destinations as quickly and safely as possible," Governor Cuomo said. "As always, I encourage drivers to remember to move over for roadside emergency and maintenance vehicles and to utilize text stops to avoid distracted driving, especially during this busy travel weekend."
Drivers should keep in mind that in some cases, road work may continue behind permanent concrete barriers or for emergency repairs. A detailed schedule of Thruway lane closures throughout the holiday weekend is available here.
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, and parking areas along state highways and the New York State Thruway 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.
New York State Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Paul A. Karas said, "We want all motorists to safely enjoy the long holiday weekend and get to their destinations with minimal disruptions and delays. I urge travelers to utilize the 511NY website to help plan their trip, keep tabs on traffic flow wherever they are headed, and to refrain from engaging in any form of distracted driving."
New York State Thruway Authority Acting Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll said, "As we kick off the summer travel season, we want to ensure all drivers reach their destinations safely and without delay due to roadwork. By limiting construction activities during a major holiday weekend, Governor Cuomo's Drivers First Initiative allows motorists to enjoy more time with their families and friends. I encourage everyone to travel safely and download the free Thruway mobile app before traveling."
New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, "As the travel season kicks off this Memorial Day weekend, our Troopers will be ready to do their part to keep our roadways safe for all motorists. However, we also urge all drivers to do their part by slowing down when they approach construction zones, putting their electronic devices away, and staying focused and alert. Together we can make our roadways safer for all."
AAA predicts that almost 42 million people will be traveling this Memorial Day weekend—the highest volume in more than a dozen years—and an estimated 36.6 million of them will be traveling by automobile.
Travelers are reminded to check 511NY by calling 511 or by accessing www.511ny.org before departing. The free service allows users to check road conditions or link to air and transit information. Mobile users can download the updated, free 511NY mobile app from the iTunes or Google Play stores. The app now features Drive mode, which provides audible alerts along a chosen route while a user is driving, warning them about incidents and construction. Users can set a destination prior to departing and receive information on up to three routes.