COLUMBUS – The Memorial Day holiday is the unofficial start to summer and the beginning of the summer driving season. It’s also well into Ohio’s road construction busy-season which means holiday travelers will see orange barrels.
“We really need drivers to pay extra attention when passing through work zones. Even though we do what we can to make them as safe as possible, work zones can be dangerous places,” said Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jerry Wray. “Last year, there were 6,041 work zone crashes resulting in 28 deaths. Drivers need to slow down and be alert, especially in work zones.”
They typically see a 14 percent increase in traffic on Ohio roadways during the Memorial Day weekend. That makes it the fourth highest traveled holiday of the year. This year will be no different, with AAA predicting 1.4 million Ohioans will drive more than 50 miles from home during the holiday, an increase of 2.2 percent.
Due to these increases, ODOT works to reduce the size and impact of work zones as much as possible over the holiday weekend. Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead by following our social media accounts for traffic alerts and checking OHGO.com and the OHGO app to see work zone locations, live traffic conditions, and more than 600 live traffic cameras.
ODOT is also working with the Ohio State Highway Patrol to encourage those traveling by vehicle to buckle up. More than 130 digital highway message boards will display “CLICK IT OR TICKET” and “BUCKLE UP BUCKEYES” over the Memorial Day holiday. Last year, of the 15 traffic deaths over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, four were not wearing a seat belt.