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Heavy traffic anticipated over Thanksgiving weekend

Monday, November 19, 2012 - 4:13pm

Texas Department of Transportation maintenance technicians will once again be riding to the rescue of drivers with vehicle problems along I-35 this Thanksgiving season.

As part of the Waco District’s annual Roadside Assistance Courtesy Patrol, two TxDOT pickup trucks in each of three counties - Hill, McLennan, and Bell - with two technicians on board each one, will drive the highway in both directions on Wednesday, Nov. 21, from 1 – 10 PM and Sunday, Nov. 27, from 2 - 10 PM.

Equipped with a wide assortment of tools and supplies, the technicians will look for vehicles on the side of the road and stop to offer assistance with any minor problem, like changing flat tires, jumping dead batteries, fueling empty gas tanks, etc.

On the heaviest travel days of the year, TxDOT hopes this extra level of service will help drivers and their passengers arrive at family celebrations safely and on time.

Crews may be working in active project areas behind barricades, but no mainlanes will be closed through the long holiday weekends coming up:
Thanksgiving
No planned lane closures allowed after 7:00 am on Tuesday, November 20.
Restriction ends at 12:01 am on Monday, November 26 (late Sunday night).

Christmas/New Year’s
No planned lane closures allowed after 7:00am on Friday, December 21.
Restriction ends at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, January 2.

Traffic backups and slowdowns are anticipated through the Waco District in areas where three existing lanes narrow down to two, especially on Wednesday before and Sunday after Thanksgiving. On the northbound side, this includes the areas near Salado, Temple, and just north of Waco. On the southbound side, it includes the areas south of Hillsboro near Abbott, south of Waco, at Temple and south of Belton/US 190.

TxDOT advises allowing extra time for travel through the I-35 corridor on those days, and as always, we encourage motorists to drive carefully and avoid distractions.
Safety for everyone on the road can be greatly increased if drivers follow a few simple rules of the road:
• Pay attention.
• Buckle seatbelts.
• Put phone away.
• Left lane for passing only (slower traffic keeps to the right).
• Never drink and drive.
• Obey all traffic laws and construction warning signs.

Weather conditions can also cause problems for drivers. Motorists can reduce their risk by knowing some winter weather driving tips and practicing a few road safety habits, such as planning ahead, and being aware of alerts and advisories in your area. Winter road preparedness includes the following:
• Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained.
• Stay tuned to local news, road closures, changing conditions and weather alerts.
• Check online highway conditions information at DriveTexas™ (www.DriveTexas.org).

DriveTexas™ is mobile friendly and offers real-time road conditions, traffic and weather feeds. Travelers can also call TxDOT’s highway conditions line at (800) 452-9292 for routing and trip-planning information.

For additional information on I-35 conditions and construction, visit My35.org.

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