The Woodward News

Local News

May 22, 2014

Heavy traffic expected for holiday

According to AAA, 621,000 Oklahomans are projected to travel over Memorial Day, representing an increase of 1.7 percent - or 10,500 more travelers - compared to last year.

"Several key factors are driving the expectation for more holiday travelers this year," said Chuck Mai, spokesperson for AAA Oklahoma. "As the economy continues to improve, disposable income, consumer confidence, and the employment outlook are trending up. This is welcome news for travelers as well as the travel industry."

In a recent news release AAA predicted 85 percent of Oklahoman travelers plan to drive to their holiday destinations. Some 83,000 Oklahomans will be flying Memorial Day weekend.  

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is gearing up to handle the increase in holiday travelers.

 "The Oklahoma Highway Patrol will be participating in a nationwide campaign entitled "Click it or Ticket It", which runs throughout the Memorial Day Weekend," Capt. George Brown, commander of OHP public affairs, said. "This is a traffic safety incentive to increase safety belt compliance and traffic safety awareness.

"Troop commanders throughout the state are assessing their areas of responsibility, (locations such as high collision corridors and places where heavy traffic volumes occur) and will concentrate high visibility patrols in those areas."

The increase in traffic on state highways and waterways requires increased safety awareness on the part of all Oklahomans.

"When motorists are traveling on state roadways they should always drive sober, wear a properly adjusted safety belt system and obey speed limits and other traffic laws," Brown said. "If you are on an area lake or waterway, we suggest always wearing a PFD (personal flotation devise) and do not drink alcohol excessively.

"The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has a zero tolerance policy for intoxicated drivers and will vigorously enforce drug and alcohol laws in an effort to reduce injuries which accompany traffic collisions."

The OHP's Marine Enforcement will be out in force patrolling waterways on what is commonly called the kickoff of the summer season. They will be enforcing the boating laws in an effort to reduce water related injuries.

"Anyone in need of assistance on the roadway or on water may call *55 to speak with their local OHP Troop Headquarters. We wish everyone a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend," Brown said.

Travelers on the highways will also face some construction issues, most in the east and southern portions of the state.

In this area, US Highway 412 has a wide load restriction with no loads over 12-feet wide allowed 10 miles east of Mooreland due to a resurfacing project, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation noted.

Travelers going through the state's metro areas will also see some road narrowing on I-40 near Yukon and construction vehicles will be entering/exitiing the highway at the Dallas Junction were I-40/I-235 and I-35 all come together.

In Tulsa, state Highway 151 is closed at the Keystone Dam near Mannford and there is a major widening project on I-44 around Lewis Avenue. There are also detours and some narrowing around I-244 and the Arkansas River where a major bridge replacement project is under way.

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