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Ted Fitzgerald/The Pilot

Most state road construction projects will be suspended to help ease highway traffic for the upcoming holidays.

Where possible, the N.C. Department of Transportation plans to open lanes that have been closed for construction on interstates or U.S. or N.C. highways from now through the evening of Tuesday, Dec. 28 and again from the morning of Friday, Dec. 31 through the evening of Tuesday, Jan. 4.

Exceptions include bridges being replaced, long-term lane construction that cannot be temporarily removed, and highway work that does not impact travel.

A prime example is the Interstate 40 project near the Tennessee state line, where lane restrictions will remain in place for safety purposes. Drivers are being diverted to use the ramps at the Exit 7/Harmon Den Road interchange to get around the closure, but NCDOT encourages drivers to consider using Interstates 26 and 81 to avoid this work zone.

The heaviest traffic is expected Monday, especially on interstates, so people should plan accordingly.

As always, drivers are urged to pay extra attention and be cautious when traveling – even in work zones where no construction activity is taking place. Make sure everyone is wearing seat belts, don’t drive impaired, and obey speed limits.

Before traveling, people can check the status of their route at DriveNC.gov.

Some other safety tips include:

  • Leave early. Travel at non-peak hours and use alternative routes to avoid the heaviest traffic congestion.
  • Stay alert. Even when highway work is paused, you may encounter narrowed lanes, shifts in traffic and lower speed limits through work zones.
  • Be patient.
  • Don’t drive drowsy. For extended drives, take frequent breaks to remain alert.
  • Don’t drive distracted. When drivers are not focused on the road, they react slowly to traffic conditions and are more likely to be involved in a crash.

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