DOT, Law Enforcement Ready for Busy Fourth

Local and state officials are preparing for a busy weekend on the roads.

AAA is projecting that more than 990,000 travelers are expected to hit the roads in Georgia for the Fourth of July holiday.

The Georgia Department of Transportation said it is one of the biggest travel holidays of the year on the state’s roads.

DOT Spokesperson Teri Pope said that is why the Department is suspending construction-related lane closures this weekend on its major state routes and interstates.

“You get a little independence from road work this holiday season,” said Pope. “Starting at noon Thursday, July 3, continuing through 5 a.m. Monday, July 7, there will be no lane closures on major state routes or interstates, that’s construction closures.”

Pope cautioned that accidents or emergency maintenance issues could still cause lane closures this holiday weekend.

Also, the work zones will still be in place so Pope encouraged drivers to use caution.

“They are actually more dangerous for motorists when we are not there,” said Pope of work zones. “So please be cautious driving through 17 work zone and any other work zones.”

State and local law enforcement agencies will be out on the roads as well.

Toccoa Police Chief Tim Jarrell said officers will be stepping up patrols and focusing on particular trouble areas.

“We will be focusing on DUI’s, speeding, seat belts,” said Jarrell.

Jarrell also said drivers need to be aware of the other vehicles around them, including motorcycles.

This year’s July 4th holiday travel period is 78 hours long.

In a 102-hour long holiday period last year, the Georgia State Patrol investigated 1,150 traffic crashes that resulted in five fatalities and 564 injuries.

According to the Georgia State Patrol, the highest number of July 4th holiday fatalities was in 1972 when 34 people were killed.

The lowest number was two deaths, which has happened three times, most recently in 2012.