Georgia DOT suspends lane closures; predicts best, worst travel times for holiday travel 

ATLANTA, GA – In anticipation of heightened travel during the upcoming holiday season, the Georgia Department of Transportation (Georgia DOT) has declared a temporary suspension of lane closures along Georgia interstates, major state routes and roadways near major shopping centers, malls, or districts. The suspension will start at 5 a.m. Friday, December 22, 2023, and will extend through 10 p.m. Tuesday, December 26, 2023, for the Christmas weekend. Similarly, for the New Year’s weekend, lane closures will be suspended from 5 a.m. on Friday, December 29, 2023, until 5 a.m. on Tuesday, January 2, 2024.

While construction-related lane closures are paused, travelers are advised to remain vigilant, as maintenance crews may still be active near highways. Additionally, certain long-term lane closures may continue due to safety considerations. It’s important to note that incident management, emergency, or maintenance-related lane closures could be implemented at any time on any route.

Provided below are the predictions of the best and worst travel times for the Christmas and New Year’s periods in 2023. These predictions are formulated based on historical travel data gathered from the holiday seasons spanning 2021 through 2022. Georgia DOT encourages all travelers to plan ahead and exercise caution on the roads during this festive season.

Christmas: December 20 – December 26

Metro Atlanta Interstates:

Moderate-to-heavy traffic is expected on the afternoons of Wednesday, December 20 and Thursday, December 21.Motorists should exercise caution on Wednesday, December 20 as this day has a high potential for crashes.

Lighter than usual traffic is predicted on Friday, December 22 through Tuesday, December 26. Metro Atlanta Surface Streets: 

Heavy traffic is predicted on Wednesday, December 20 for the below routes:

  • SR 3 N/Cobb Pkwy
  • SR 141 N/Peachtree Rd
  • SR 42 E/Moreland Ave

Heaviest traffic is predicted to occur on Thursday, December 21 for the below routes:

  • SR 3N/Cobb Pkwy
  • SR 141 N/Peachtree Rd
  • SR 42 E/Moreland Ave
  • SR 3 S

Lighter than normal traffic is predicted for Friday, December 22 through Tuesday, December 26 on most metro Atlanta streets.

New Year’s: December 27, 2023 – January 2, 2024


Metro Atlanta Interstates:

  • Moderate-to-heavy traffic is predicted on Wednesday, December 27 and Thursday, December 28.
  • Lighter than usual traffic is expected on Friday, December 29, 2023, through Monday January 1, 2024.
  • High potential for crashes is expected on Tuesday, January 2, 2024.
  • Typical commute travel is expected to return on Tuesday, January 2, 2024, with post-holiday congestion between the hours of 3-7 p.m.Metro Atlanta Surface Streets:
  • Light to heavy but better than normal is predicted on Wednesday, December 27 through Tuesday, January 2.

The historical travel data for major interstates outside of metro Atlanta during the Christmas and New Year’s periods indicates the following trends:

  • I-20 eastbound congestion entering metro Atlanta; I-20 westbound congestion exiting the city towards Alabama. 
  • I-75 is predicted to have heavy congestion southbound and northbound coming out of Atlanta in Stockbridge during Christmas, and lighter than usual congestion for New Year’s.
  • I-95 northbound and southbound congestion in Savannah
  • I-24 eastbound congestion in Northwest Georgia (near Chattanooga)I-
  • 16 westbound congestion exiting Savannah and I-16 eastbound congestion entering Savannah

Below are the anticipated schedule changes for the Northwest Corridor and the South Metro Express Lanes for both the Christmas and New Year’s holiday weekends.  Orange directions indicate a change from the usual schedule. Travelers are advised to check the updated schedules and plan their routes accordingly during these holiday weekends. Please note, the schedules are subject to change due to current traffic needs.

Christmas Schedule 
New Year’s Schedule

Peach Pass Usage Updates:

  • Peach Pass is accepted at the express lane systems in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, North Carolina, and Rhode Island. Additional states are expected to be added to the Peach Pass system by Winter 2024.
  • Current interoperability is set with Florida’s SunPass, E-Pass, and LeeWay. It is also interoperable with North Carolina’s QuickPass.
  • Users coming from accepted states into Georgia can utilize their pass on the Georgia Express Lanes.

Safe Driving Tips: If you find yourself traveling this Christmas or New Year holiday, do so safely with these best practices in mind:

Make sure your vehicle is winter-ready:

  • Prepare a winter-ready kit for your vehicle, including essentials such as blankets, a flashlight, gloves, and provisions like food and water.
  • Before embarking on your journey, inspect the condition of your tires to ensure they are suitable for winter driving.

Leverage 511GA Travel Services:  Prepare for your journey by utilizing the comprehensive travel services offered by 511GA. Visit 511ga.org or download the free 511 Georgia app for:

  • Turn-by-turn navigation, estimated travel times, and real-time travel speeds.
  • Travel forecasts and real-time road conditions to ensure a safe arrival at your destination.
  • Stay updated on the current direction of the Express Lanes.
  • Access traffic cameras along your drive to stay informed about current road conditions and events.

Call 511 to speak with a live operator 24/7/365. Your safety and convenience are our top priorities. For up-to-date information about travel conditions on Georgia’s interstates and state routes, call 511 or visit www.511ga.org before heading out. 511 is a free service that provides real-time statewide information on Georgia’s interstates and state routes, including traffic conditions, incidents, lane closures and delays due to inclement weather 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Callers can also transfer to operators to request HERO assistance in metro Atlanta or CHAMP service on highways in other regions of the state.

Georgia Department of Transportation plans, constructs and maintains Georgia’s state and federal highways. We’re involved in bridge, waterway, public transit, rail, general aviation, bike and pedestrian programs. And we help local governments maintain their roads. Georgia DOT and its nearly 4,000 employees are committed to delivering a transportation system focused on innovation, safety, sustainability and mobility. The Department’s vision is to boost Georgia’s competitiveness through leadership in transportation.

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