AAA Predicts 34 Percent Increase in Travel From 2020
No Non-Essential Lane Closures During Busiest Travel Times
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that temporary lane closures for road and bridge construction projects on New York State highways will be suspended beginning Thursday, December 23 at 6 a.m. through Monday, December 27 at 6 a.m. Construction will also be suspended from Thursday, December 30 at 6 a.m. through Monday, January 3 at 6 a.m. to ease travel for motorists.
Motorists should be aware that some work may continue behind permanent concrete barriers or for emergency repairs. The construction suspension aligns with New York State’s Drivers First Initiative, which prioritizes the convenience of motorists to minimize traffic congestion and travel delays due to road and bridge work.
“We are in the midst of one of the busiest travel times of the year and we want to ensure all New Yorkers are able to reach their destinations safely and without delay, so they can enjoy the holiday season,” Governor Hochul said. “To that end, we are suspending construction on state roads to help ease traffic during this time. I wish all New Yorkers a wonderful holiday season and remind them to please drive responsibly and help ensure this is happy and safe time for all.”
According to AAA more than 109 million people will travel this holiday season, which is an increase of almost 34 percent from 2020. That will bring this year’s numbers to 92 percent of 2019 levels.
The Governor reminds motorists that state and local law enforcement are participating in the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, which runs through January 1, 2022. 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 tradition of offering free coffee and hot tea to travelers at service areas along the Thruway from 11 p.m. New Year’s Eve through 7 a.m. New Year’s morning to promote safety and alert driving.
Text stops, including park-and-ride facilities, rest stops, service areas and parking areas along state highways support the state’s effort to reduce distracted driving. All text stops will remain open, providing 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 Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll said, “The holiday season is one of the busiest travel times of the year and suspending construction over the holiday weekend will allow motorist to arrive at their destinations faster, with fewer delays. We urge motorists to move over for emergency and maintenance vehicles they see on the road, remain alert, and drive sober. We also want to remind drivers that due to the service area redevelopment project, 10 service areas are closed along the Thruway for renovations, so please plan your stops accordingly. Fuel services remain open at all locations, and no two consecutive service areas are closed in the same direction of travel. I wish all New Yorkers a happy holiday and New Year.”
New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “Traveling during the holiday season can be stressful and the Department of Transportation wants to do everything it can to provide a hassle-free journey for motorists and allow them to reach their destinations with as few disruptions as possible. We wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season and we urge all those traveling to please do so safely, making sure that when you are on the road, please remember to buckle up, pay attention and please, do not text and drive. Let’s work together to make sure everyone reaches their destination safely.”
New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner and Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee of New York Mark J.F. Schroeder said, “We hope everyone’s travels this holiday season are safe. Please make plans for alternative ways to get home or to stay overnight if you plan to be celebrating with alcohol, and please keep an eye out for pedestrians during the final days of this busy shopping season.”
State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said, “As the travel kicks up this holiday season, our Troopers will be ready to do their part to keep our roadways safe. We urge all drivers to do their part by putting their electronic devices away and staying focused and alert. Please obey posted speed limits and follow the rules of the road. Also, those celebrating this holiday season should do so safely by planning ahead or driving sober. Together, we can save lives and prevent serious injuries.”
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 emails, which provide the latest conditions along the Thruway.
Travelers can check NYSDOT’s 511NY before traveling by calling 5-1-1, visiting the 511 website, 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.