Two organizations earlier this week announced plans to help alleviate traffic during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
First, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) announced it is suspending construction-related lane closures on heavily traveled interstate highways and state routes from Nov. 27 at 6 a.m. to Dec. 25 at a.m. Similar restrictions will be in place for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
The heaviest traffic is expected to be in Buckhead and the northern Perimeter Nov. 27 through 29.
“In order to provide a safer and less congested roadway, we are limiting construction-related lane closures,” GDOT State Construction Engineer John D. Hancock said in a news release. “We anticipate heavy traffic statewide while people are visiting their friends and family, as well as shopping during Black Friday.”
Motorists visiting the downtown area should expect a considerable amount of traffic as many holiday festivals and events are taking place throughout the weekend. The annual Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon & 5K will take place Nov. 28 at Georgia State Stadium (formerly Turner Field), and Georgia Tech will host the University of Georgia at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
“We typically see an increase in roadway fatalities during the holidays,” Hancock said. “I urge drivers to put down your cell phones, be alert and make sure you and your passengers buckle up. Let’s make this a happy Thanksgiving for all.”
While the road closures will be suspended, the department reminds travelers to exercise caution as crews may still work near highways, and safety concerns may require some long-term lane closures to remain in place. In addition, incident management or emergency, maintenance-related lane closures could become necessary at any time on any route.
Second, The Buckhead Community Improvement District announced its Holiday Traffic Officer Program will launch for the 2019 shopping season on Black Friday and run through Dec. 28.
The program focuses on helping traffic move more efficiently during peak rush hour times by keeping the intersections clear when drivers are entering or exiting shopping malls, offices or retail developments. Officers will be posted at nine different intersections on Peachtree and Lenox roads and Buckhead Loop near Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza malls.
"This year, we were able to extend the program's hours each day to allow for more efficient vehicle traffic and pedestrian access to Lenox Mall, Phipps Plaza and the nearby MARTA station," Jim Durrett, the district’s executive director, said in a news release. "We want to do our part to help residents and visitors coming to Buckhead's shops, restaurants and hotels to have an enjoyable and unforgettable experience.”