Christmas Travel: Saving Time and Money

Christmas is coming and in honor of the holiday season, the N.C. Department of Transportation is suspending most road construction activities on major routes across the state to help make your trip smoother. By avoiding traffic delays, motorists can cut down on fuel consumption and costs.

NCDOT will put on hold most construction projects along interstate, N.C. and U.S. routes from 6 a.m. Friday, Dec. 23, until midnight, Monday, Dec. 26, with these exceptions:

  • U.S. 264 in Hyde County will have one lane closed with portable traffic signals. A bridge over Long Shoal River is being replaced.
  • N.C. 24 in Sampson County will have one lane closed between Mitchell Loop Road and the U.S. 421/701 Bypass. The east-bound lane of N.C. 24 is being widened.
  • In Brunswick County, Cedar Hill Road, immediately south of Royster Road NE for approximately 0.5 miles, will be closed to allow for construction of I-140 from the Andrew Jackson Highway to Cedar Hill Road.
  • The lane closure on I-77 in Mecklenburg County between I-277 and Exit 36, will be the existing high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane between I85 and I-277. The closure is long term and is associated with shifting traffic to accommodate construction.
  • A bridge replacement in Jackson County means a section of U.S. 74 between Sugar Loaf Road and Mount Pleasant Church Road will have a lane closure.

In addition, there are a dozens of local roads in the eastern part of the state that remain closed because of damage from Hurricane Matthew. When applicable, those roads have signed detours in place.

Another holiday tradition is that the major roadways get very crowded as motorists head out to join family and friends, so here are some tips to help make the trip safe.

  • Leave early to get a head start. Travel at non-peak hours if possible.
  • Stay alert and don’t drive drowsy. Travel at times you are normally awake, and take frequent breaks.
  • Avoid distracted driving.
  • Be patient and obey the speed limit.
  • Use alternative routes, when possible, to avoid traffic congestion; and
  • Stay informed. Real time travel information, including traffic issues caused by crashes and the Hurricane Matthew road closures, is available at you can follow NCDOT on Twitter.

Also, never drive drunk. The Governor’s Highway Safety Program’s annual Booze It and Lose It Campaign will continue through midnight,Monday, January 2nd.  Law enforcement officers are on special alert for drunk drivers during the holiday season. If you must drink, call a friend, give your keys to a designated driver or get a ride. You can save your life and someone else’s.