Construction-related lane closures limited to ease travel during holiday weekend
√ Motorists urged to slow down and move over for roadside emergency and maintenance vehicles
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced temporary lane closures for road and bridge construction projects on New York state highways will be suspended from 6 a.m. Friday, July 2, to 6 a.m. Tuesday, July 6, to ease travel throughout the July 4th holiday weekend.
Motorists should be aware that some work may continue behind permanent concrete barriers or for emergency repairs. The construction suspension aligns with Cuomo's “Drivers First” initiative, which prioritizes the convenience of motorists to minimize traffic congestion and travel delays due to road and bridge work.
"As we emerge from the pandemic, New Yorkers are eager to celebrate Independence Day and travel to their holiday destination, but even in our new normal, basic road safety practices and laws still apply," Cuomo said. "I urge all motorists to move over for emergency or maintenance vehicles on the roads, remain alert and drive sober so that we can all be safe and happy as we celebrate."
Cuomo is urging motorists to follow the state's “Move Over Law,” which requires motorists to slow down and safely move over for law enforcement vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances, tow trucks and construction or maintenance vehicles that are stopped along roads across the state.
A press release stated, “Text stops, including park-and-ride facilities, rest stops, service areas and parking areas along state highways, support the state's efforts to reduce distracted driving. All text stops will remain open, providing a location where drivers can safely and conveniently use their phones and other mobile devices for calling, texting, navigating and accessing mobile apps. Texting while driving is especially dangerous, as it requires motorists to take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel and mind off driving.
“All welcome centers, rest areas and text stops within New York state remain open and restrooms and vending services continue to be available. To enhance public safety and prevent spread of COVID-19, enhanced cleaning measures at rest stops and welcome centers have been implemented.”
New York State Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew Driscoll said, "This holiday weekend, we are temporarily suspending construction to minimize delays and help motorists get to their holiday destinations safely and efficiently. However, emergency and roadside workers will still be on the road, so it's crucial motorists remain alert, slow down, and move over when they see flashing lights. We want every New Yorker to have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend."
State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, "The New York State Department of Transportation is proud to be a part of Gov. Cuomo's ‘Drivers First’ initiative, which will help New Yorkers get to their holiday destinations safely and with a minimum of delays. We wish all New Yorkers a safe and happy Independence Day – and please remember to drive cautiously, wear your seat belt, put down your phone and pay attention, especially when driving in a work zone. Our highways workers are part of the DOT family – please treat them with respect."
DMV Commissioner and Governor's Traffic Safety Committee Chair Mark J.F. Schroeder said, "I know everyone is excited to be able to get back out on the road, and we want all travelers to do so safely. Please buckle up, obey the speed limit, and stay sober. Suspending road work helps the holiday travel go more smoothly, but please continue to slow down and move over to give highway workers and emergency crews the space they need to do their jobs safely. Wherever your destination, enjoy this holiday weekend."
State Police Acting Superintendent Kevin Bruen said, "As motorists get set to travel for the 4th of July holiday, troopers will be ready to do their part to keep our roadways safe for everyone. We urge all drivers to do their part by obeying posted speed limits, putting away their smart phones, slowing down and moving over when they see emergency or highway vehicles by the side of the road. Please make safety your top priority when travelling this summer."
AAA predicts travel over the holiday weekend to nearly fully recover to prepandemic levels, making it the second-highest Independence Day travel volume on record, the previous being 2019. From July 1-5, more than 47 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home, an increase of nearly 40% compared to last year.
The Thruway Authority encourages motorists to download its mobile app, which is available to download for free on iPhone and Android devices. The app provides motorists direct access to real-time traffic and navigation assistance while on the go. Motorists can also sign up for TRANSalert emails, which provide the latest traffic conditions along the thruway HERE.
Travelers can check NYSDOT's 511NY before traveling, by calling 5-1-1, visiting the 511 website HERE, or downloading the free 511NY mobile app on iTunes or Google Play. The free service allows users to check road conditions, view 2219 traffic cameras and link to air and transit information. The app features drive mode, which provides audible alerts along a chosen route while a user is driving, warning them about incidents and construction.
The Department of Motor Vehicles urges drivers to use the “Have a Plan” app to help find a safe way home from a celebration where they may be drinking. The free app from the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee and the NYS STOP-DWI Foundation allows users to designate a driver, call a cab or ride share, and to review the consequences of impaired driving. Users can even use the app to report a drunk or drugged driver. The app is available for Apple, Android, and Windows smart phones.
Follow New York state DOT on Twitter: @NYSDOT and on Facebook at New York State Department of Transportation. Follow the Thruway Authority on Twitter: @NYSThruway and on Facebook at New York State Thruway Authority or download the Thruway's free mobile app.