Georgia DOT traffic alert for best and worst travel times for Memorial Weekend Travel

ATLANTA – In anticipation of an increase in Memorial Day Weekend traffic congestion, Georgia Department of Transportation (Georgia DOT) announces the suspension of all interstate lane closures on Georgia interstates and state routes beginning Friday, May 24 at noon until 5 a.m. Tuesday, May 28.

While construction-related lane closures will be suspended, Georgia DOT reminds motorists to exercise caution as crews may still work near highways, and safety concerns may require some long-term lane closures to remain in place. Additionally, emergency or maintenance-related lane closures could occur at any time on any route.
 
To help motorists plan the best and worst times to travel this weekend, Georgia DOT is sharing its traffic forecasts and best practices while traveling across Georgia this holiday weekend. 

The predictions are based on travel data from the past several years.

Metro Atlanta:

*Traffic volume data is based on an evaluation of historical Memorial Day Weekend traffic patterns.

*Tourist attractions and popular areas for holiday travel in Metro Atlanta that could experience an increase in traffic include:

  • Centennial Olympic Park
  • Georgia Aquarium
  • Six Flags Over Georgia
  • Zoo Atlanta
  • Atlanta Botanical Gardens
  • Piedmont Park / Atlanta Jazz Festival

Metro Atlanta Interstates: Memorial Day Weekend travel data from 2023 for major interstates inside of Metro Atlanta have shown the following trends: 

  • Historical travel patterns predict a typical traffic flow on Metro Atlanta interstates leading into the holiday weekend period from Wednesday, May 22 – Thursday, May 23, with moderate congestion 3 – 7 p.m.
  • Motorists should be advised of potential heavy traffic on Friday, May 24, particularly from 12 – 8 p.m. 
  • Motorists can expect moderate congestion on metro Atlanta interstates on Saturday, May 25, during afternoon hours.
  • Light to normal traffic is expected on both Sunday, May 26, and Monday, May 27, Memorial Day.
  • Motorists should expect moderate congestion to return on Tuesday, May 28, particularly during 3 – 7 p.m.

Below are the schedule changes for the South Metro Express Lanes for the Memorial Day travel period from Friday, May 24 through Monday, May 27. No changes are expected for the Northwest Corridor Express Lanes. Schedules are subject to change due to current traffic needs.

The blue directions indicate a change from the usual schedule.

Metro Atlanta surface streets:

Heavier than usual traffic is expected from midday to evening on both Thursday, May 23, and Friday, May 24, for these surface streets:

  • SR 3N/Cobb Pkwy
  • SR 141 N/Peachtree Rd
  • SR 140 NE/Jimmy Carter Blvd
  • SR 3 West Central/Northside Dr
  • SR 8 East Central/Ponce De Leon Ave
  • SR 42 E/Moreland Ave
  • SR 154 SE/Memorial Dr
  • SR 35 S/US Hwy 19

– Saturday, May 25, and Sunday, May 26, are predicted to have normal to lighter-than-normal traffic flows on both days for the surface streets listed above.

– Motorists can expect lighter-than-normal traffic on most surface streets on Memorial Day.

On major interstates outside of the metro Atlanta area, data has shown the following traffic trends during the Memorial Day travel period: 

  • I-20 is expected to have heavy congestion eastbound entering Metro Atlanta; light travel westbound exiting the city towards Alabama; and moderate congestion eastbound entering South Carolina.
  • I-75 is predicted to have heavy congestion southbound and northbound coming out of Atlanta in Stockbridge. 
  • I-24 eastbound heavy congestion in Northwest Georgia (near Chattanooga).
  • I-16 westbound heavy congestion exiting Savannah and I-16 eastbound heavy congestionentering Savannah. 
  • I-95 northbound and southbound is expected to see light travel in Savannah.

Safe Driving Tips:

If you find yourself traveling this weekend, do so safely with these best practices in mind:

– Georgia DOT CHAMP support:

  • The Coordinated Highway Assistance & Maintenance Program (CHAMP) is a free service, courtesy of the Georgia Department of Transportation (Georgia DOT) covering interstates outside of metro Atlanta (except I-59 and I-24).
  • CHAMP assist stranded motorists, change tires, maintain traffic flow and identify several maintenance issues.  
  • Motorists can dial 511 to request CHAMP.  

Move over for first responders: 

  • Traffic-related incidents are a leading cause of death for law enforcement officers. Let’s all do our part to ensure highway safety. Drive alert, eliminate distractions, and stay focused on the road.
  • Georgia’s Move-Over law requires drivers to move over one lane, if possible if an emergency vehicle with flashing lights is parked on the shoulder of the highway.
    *Vehicles included in the law include all first responders (law enforcement, fire, EMS), utility vehicles, DOT vehicles, HERO and CHAMP units, and wreckers tending to an accident. 
  • If traffic is too heavy to move over safely, the law requires drivers to slow down below the posted speed limit and be prepared to stop.

Stay in your car:

  • Motorists should avoid getting out of their vehicles if they are stopped on the interstate.
  • Emergency assistance will provide instructional communication on what drivers and passengers should do.

Drive defensively: 

  • An increase in out-of-town drivers is expected. Use caution for unfamiliar drivers on the roads. 
  • Be alert and aware. Slow down and approach with caution if you see a car with its hazards on.
  • Maintain a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you in case they come to an abrupt stop.
  • Be alert of pedestrians near crosswalks, surface streets, and heavily populated areas.
  • Don’t drive distracted. Stay focused on the road for any sudden incidents.

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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