Officials project heavy traffic this weekend

Published 9:14 pm Friday, September 5, 2008

Motorists have already begun to flood the roadways to take full advantage of the last summer holiday of the year and law enforcement agencies statewide have increased their presence to promote safety and awareness this weekend.

According to Alabama State Trooper Cpl. Blake Turman, trooper presence was increased Thursday beginning at 6 p.m. and will remain at an increased level through the entire Labor Day weekend.

“We will be increasing all of our patrol efforts with emphasis on speeding, impaired driving and seat belt usage,” he said. “We will be doing driver’s license checks at various locations throughout the district.”

Turman said troopers have also begun preparations for measures that will be taken in the event that Tropical Storm Gustav enters the area.

“We are trying to keep in mind the storm that is coming,” he said. “We have begun to make preparations to four-lane I-65 for a northbound evacuation route if needed.”

Turman said the storm’s predicted arrival on Monday produces extra strain on what would already historically be the most busy travel day of the Labor Day weekend.

“Monday is usually our busiest travel day,” he said. “If people do not need to travel this weekend, then it is probably best for them to stay home.”

Andalusia Police Chief Wilbur Williams said local law enforcement agencies will be patrolling the roads this weekend as well.

“We will be conducting some checkpoints throughout the weekend,” he said. “We will establish our various checkpoints based on projected flow of traffic through certain points of the city.”

Williams said he does expect some beach traffic, primarily by way of U.S. Hwy. 84 and State Hwy. 55, to enter the area.

“We do anticipate a decent amount of beach traffic because it is the last holiday weekend of the year,” he said. “Since it is an extended weekend we expect increased traffic from that aspect as well.”