7-Day Thanksgiving Travel Forecast

GAINESVILLE, Ga. — To allow for anticipated increase in holiday traffic, the Georgia Department of Transportation announced the suspension of lane closures on Georgia interstates and state routes beginning at 5 a.m. Wednesday, until 10 p.m. Sunday.

These statewide lane closure restrictions will help to reduce traffic congestion during the Thanksgiving holiday. Similar restrictions will be in place for Christmas and New Year’s.

While construction related lane 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.

“By limiting lane closures during the holiday season, we hope to promote a safer, less congested traveling experience,” said Georgia DOT State Construction Engineer John D. Hancock.

“Unfortunately, we have seen a noticeable increase in motor vehicle fatalities nationwide due to distracted driving, speeding and driving under the influence. This holiday season and always, we encourage all drivers to put down the cellphones, buckle up, slow down and drive sober."

When to go

Based on travel volume data following Labor Day weekend 2021, it is predicted Thanksgiving travel volumes will return to pre-pandemic levels this year.

Historical Thanksgiving travel data from 2019 and 2020 for major interstates in northeast Georgia have shown the following trends starting from the afternoon of Wednesday to early evening of Sunday:

I-85 north of Atlanta: Southbound congestion near the South Carolina border

If you do need to travel this holiday, please keep in mind the following tips in mind before hitting the road:

• The best time for travel is in the morning, before 10 a.m.

• Traffic volumes begin to increase after noon, when drivers are departing work early or finishing last-minute shopping lists.

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