TDOT Halts Highway Construction For Busy Holiday Travel Period

No Lane Closures On Interstates And State Routes From Dec. 24 To Jan. 2

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Road construction won’t delay travelers during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) is once again halting all lane closure activity on interstates and state highways in anticipation of higher traffic volumes across the state.  
No temporary lane closures will be allowed for construction on Tennessee roadways beginning at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 24, through 6 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014.  

“Two million drivers are expected to travel Tennessee roadways during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, and we want to do everything possible to maximize capacity on our roadways,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “We also want to keep our roadways safe. Our law enforcement partners will be out in full force so wear your seatbelt, reduce your speed, avoid distractions, and don’t drive if you’ve been drinking.”

Except for a few long-term closures which must remain in place for safety, all construction related closures will be suspended during the holiday period.  Workers may still be on site in some construction zones.  Drivers should obey all posted speed limits, particularly in construction areas.  Slower speeds are necessary in work zones due to the temporary layout of the roadway and will be enforced.  Drivers convicted of speeding through work zones where workers are present face a fine of $250 to $500, plus court fees and possible increased insurance premiums. 

AAA predicts holiday travel will increase about 1.5% in Tennessee this year, with 2 million expected to travel by automobile in the volunteer state between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Across the U.S. 85.8 million people are expected to drive to their year-end holiday destinations. Americans will travel an estimated 805 miles round trip.

Updated travel and construction information can be found on the TDOT SmartWay website at or you may call 5-1-1.  You can also receive traffic alerts via TDOT’s multiple Twitter feeds, including statewide traffic tweets @TN511 or any of TDOT’s other Twitter pages.  Smartphone users can download the TDOT SmartWay mobile app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store for Android to access TDOT’s SmartWay cameras, messages displayed on overhead Dynamic Message Signs, and information on construction related lane closures and incidents on interstates and state routes.

As always, drivers are reminded to use all motorist information tools wisely and Know Before You Go! by checking travel conditions before leaving for their destination.  Drivers should never tweet, text or talk on a cell phone while behind the wheel.

HCSO Presents March Car Safety Tip: There's A Tether On My Car Seat?

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office is sharing the following information provided by Safe Kids Worldwide, regarding the tether strap on car seats, for their March car safety tip: What is a tether? The tether is the strap with a hook on it coming from the back or the top of your child’s car seat. What does a tether do? When the tether is attached and tightened to the ... (click for more)

Author Victoria Price To Visit Star Line Books With Her Memoir This Thursday

Star Line Books will host memoirist Victoria Price with her book, The Way of Being Lost: A Roadtrip to My Truest Self.  Ms. Price will be at Star Line Books for a discussion and signing of her memoir on Thursday from 6-7 p.m.   Ms. Price delves into her childhood with a doting, famous father and a detrimental, unloving mother. At the age of 49, despite having an outwardly ... (click for more)

City May Make It Easier For Food Trucks To Operate In Chattanooga

The City Council is considering action that would make it easier for food trucks to operate in Chattanooga.  City Attorney Wade Hinton said cities like Austin and Portland have thriving food truck operations and Chattanooga is studying those models. He said, "It's truly an industry there." He said a 2013 food truck ordinance was limited and did not allow food trucks on ... (click for more)

Magistrate Says She Was Fired Because Philyaw Did Not Want To Be Seen With Someone Openly Gay

A former magistrate at Juvenile Court said she was fired because Judge Rob Philyaw and Court Administrator Sam Mairs "wanted me gone because I was openly gay." County Attorney Rheubin Taylor said Elizabeth Gentzler was not the only gay at Juvenile Court and Hamilton County government, indicating that may be part of the county's defense. Attorney Stuart James, representing Ms. ... (click for more)

The Panhandling "Tax" On Gunbarrel

I’ve been reading about the panhandling problem in downtown; it is a huge problem in the Gunbarrel area, too.  It’s commonplace to be accosted by panhandlers when walking from your parked car into a commercial establishment.  And often they are aggressive.  I look carefully around my car before getting out, but sometimes someone will be lurking in between cars and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Sheriff’s Request

Jim Hammond will talk to members of the Hamilton County School Board on Thursday afternoon and, just like any police officer in the United States, he will request that everybody “stay in their own lane.” Some school board members tend to believe they need to help decide the best methods of protecting our children. They believe this is one of the things they were elected to do in ... (click for more)