11/25/10  The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) reminds Hoosiers to travel safely and plan for more driving time during the busy Thanksgiving travel holiday.  AAA projects the number of Americans traveling by car for this Thanksgiving will increase 12 percent from the 2009 holiday to 39.7 million people. As the “Crossroads of America,” many of these drivers will be traveling Indiana highways.

“INDOT will be monitoring our transportation network this holiday season to ensure safe and efficient travel,” said INDOT Commissioner Michael B. Cline. “You can also show your Hoosier hospitality to others by planning travels during off-peak times and staying focused on safety.”

Beginning Wednesday at noon, most highway maintenance activities and construction projects will halt work until sunrise on Monday, November 29 to increase roadway mobility and safety. INDOT directs its contractors to pull back barriers and barricades to the safest extent possible to accommodate the anticipated increase in holiday travel.

Thanksgiving also signals a shift in priorities for INDOT. Most construction projects wrap up for the winter by mid-December as attention turns to treating and plowing Indiana highways to keep them safe.

Again this winter drivers will be able to track road conditions and construction projects across the state. INDOT’s TrafficWise Traveler Information website http://www.trafficwise.in.gov will be updated during snow events to let drivers know if road conditions are good, fair or difficult. The information is also available by calling 800-261-ROAD (7623). In addition to road conditions, new features for users of the website and hotline include National Weather Service watches and warnings.

Most construction projects are halted during the winter months because certain operations like paving and lane striping cannot be performed in cold temperatures. Most asphalt plants cease operation from November to April.  However some work, such as bridge construction and demolition, will carry on.

Major Moves projects that will continue work throughout the winter as temperatures and conditions allow include the Borman Expressway project in Lake County, the U.S. 31 projects in St. Joseph, Marshall and Howard counties, the Hoosier Heartland project in Tippecanoe, Carroll and Cass counties, the I-69 extension in southwest Indiana and the Accelerate 465 and 465/69 Northeast projects near Indianapolis.

While construction and maintenance crews focus on keeping the roads clear of snow, designers and engineers will work throughout the winter to award contracts around the state that will begin construction in early spring. The latest news and information about INDOT is available by visiting www.indot.IN.gov or www.trafficwise.IN.gov.