With Christmas and New Year’s Day approaching, folks are preparing to make the trek to friends and families over the holidays.

However, travelers will face an increase in traffic and road construction on many Oklahoma highways.

According to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the Oklahoma Transportation Authority, several areas on Oklahoma roads will have delays related to road construction.

ODOT reports that I-35 will be narrowed in Noble and Kay Counties but lanes will be opened for holiday travel in Love County. However, for those planning a late return home Interstate lanes in Love County will be narrowed again on Jan. 3.

State Highway 33 in Payne County and 69 in Muskogee County will be narrowed to one lane respectively throughout the New Year. Also, U.S. Highway 75 will be narrowed in Tulsa County for 12 miles northbound from the Okmulgee County line to 96th Street for road and bridge resurfacing.

For those traveling through or to Oklahoma City for the holidays ODOT only reports a lane narrowing on Shields Boulevard near I-35 and the off-ramp for westbound traffic on Airport Road will be closed during the holidays.

Drivers on Oklahoma’s turnpikes will see areas of road construction as well.

The Cimarron Turnpike will have traffic shifts and narrowed lanes near Morrison and the Creek Turnpike will have various lane closures and delay from Memorial Drive to Mingo Road.

The Indian Nation and Turner Turnpikes expect to also have traffic shifts, lane closures and delays in areas as well and Will Rogers Turnpike will have much of the same around Afton, Vinita and Miami.

AAA is projecting record-breaking travel volumes this Christmas-New Year’s holiday, despite travel costs that are up nearly across the board. The AAA reports that approximately 690,600 Oklahomans will travel by motor vehicle over the holidays. This is up 1.6 percent from last year. AAA also reports nationally there will be approximately 51.54 million travelers driving this holiday season which is up 1.7 percent increase from last year as well.

With all the added holiday traffic comes the concern for traveler safety on Oklahoma highways.

“With the increase in holiday traffic we ask that everyone just follow a few simple steps to ensure their safety for the holidays,” said Trooper Justin Williams of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. “Drive the speed limit and avoid ice areas in the road when possible. We believe most roads in the area will be fine for the holidays but ice can still be in certain areas on Oklahoma roads and we want everyone to be careful and buckle up when they are driving.”

Williams also said, “Watch for animals also. With the cold weather we have had, animals are more prone to roam around and can cross highways which can lead to serious accidents.”

The OHP will be in full force according to Williams, who says troopers will be looking for drunk drivers as well as speeders and suspicious vehicles that are driving erratic throughout the Woodward and Panhandle area.

“This is our busiest time of the year with Spring Break being second,” said Williams. “We try to find the busiest highways in our area and we keep a close watch on those highways. Highway 412 is always busy this time of year and we will be spending a lot of time on it over the holiday season.”

The OHP in Clinton recommends also when traveling over the holidays to have a plan in case of an accident. Also, the OHP recommends that if you are traveling with another vehicle to know the license plate number of the vehicles in your party and to have a plan in case you get separated from another car in your party. In Oklahoma motorists can call *55 from any cell phone which will link them to the closest OHP headquarters in the area.

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