Fewer Drivers Expected on South Carolina Roads

Despite a recent in gasoline prices, fewer people are expected to travel during the Labor Day weekend than in 2007.

South Carolina gasoline prices have dropped about 11 percent since the July 4th holiday. At $3.44 on Wednesday, it is down 93 cents from the Fourth of July holiday, but higher than 2007 Labor Day weekend prices.

AAA Carolinas has estimated that 352,000 South Carolina drivers will travel more than 100 miles round-trip over the weekend, a less than 1 percent decrease from last year’s statistics. About 70,000 South Carolinians are expected to travel by air. AAA Carolinas, a not-for-profit organization, uses survey research and a forecast model to estimate travel statistics.

In Spartanburg County, average daily traffic counts have historically increased by about 30 percent during the Labor Day weekend, according to figures from previous years.

Gasoline prices have fallen for 39 consecutive days, but most people changed vacation plans to stay closer to home following record high gasoline prices this summer, AAA Carolinas President David Parsons said in a news release.

The S.C. Department of Public Safety has launched a Sober or Slammer enforcement campaign to target drunk and aggressive drivers and those who aren’t wearing seat belts. Last year, there were nine fatalities on South Carolina roads during the Labor Day weekend, and four of those were alcohol-related. None of those occurred in Spartanburg, Cherokee or Union counties.

“The Sober or Slammer campaign not only targets impaired drivers, but we look at everything that has the potential to cause an accident,” Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Scot Edgeworth said.

The Highway Patrol will partner with other law enforcement agencies to conduct safety and DUI checkpoints through the weekend.

“Our goal during this weekend is the same as it as throughout the year, to reduce the number of crashes and fatalities in this state,” the trooper said. “That means cracking down on speeding violations, aggressive driving, seat belt violations and those who choose to drink and drive.”

Other than delays caused by traffic collisions, South Carolina motorists shouldn’t have to worry about delays on the state’s highways through the weekend. S.C. Department of Transportation spokesman Pete Poore said no construction projects are scheduled through the weekend and those that are ongoing will stop midday on Friday and resume Tuesday morning.

Those driving to Atlanta on Labor Day weekend can expect heavy traffic delays where I-85 south meets I-75 south in Georgia because of a major interstate reconstruction project. Delays up to two hours are expected in the area immediately surrounding the Georgia Dome, where Clemson University will play the University of Alabama on Saturday.

About 140,000 people are expected at events in downtown Atlanta over the weekend, including the football game and a marching band competition.

The Georgia Department of Transportation said in a news release that work will begin at 9 p.m. on Friday and the I-85 southbound lane will be reduced to two lanes near I-75, and I-75 southbound will be reduced to one lane at the merge.

The work will continue until early Tuesday, and those traveling from South Carolina on I-85 are urged to take I-285 east to I-20 west to access the Georgia Dome.

Motorists can call 511, a free phone service, for real-time traffic and travel information.

Lynne P. Shackleford
shj.com

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