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UDOT, UHP offer advice for Memorial Day travelers

By KSL.com | Posted - May 27, 2011 at 12:25 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY — Getting to your holiday destination this Memorial Day Weekend may take a little longer than planned because of construction zones. It may also cost you a little more thanks to high gas prices.

Gas prices

Seeing the price at the pump can be frustrating when trying to plan a vacation, but some motorists refuse to let it get them down.

"(I've) got to go anyway," Tony Hutcheon told KSL News Friday morning. "Don't want to put a damper on the mood."

AAA predicts some 2.3 million motorists in eight Intermountain states plan to travel more than 50 miles from home this weekend, which is down 0.5 percent from 2010.

Construction and road closures

For those who are traveling despite the price of gas, you may want to plan your trip around peak travel times — especially if you're headed south on I-15.

Related:

Utah Department of Transportation spokeswoman Tania Mashburn said UDOT is "predicting that there could be one- to two-hour delays through that 24 miles in Utah County."

Mashburn said UDOT crews won't be working on I-15 this weekend, but the the lanes will remain narrow, the cones will stay in place, and the speed limit will stay at 55. She suggests motorists travel after 8pm if they haven't left already.

"Afternoon [Friday] is going to be our busy travel time, and then again on Monday after 2 p.m.," Mashburn said.

Construction delays are not expected in southern Utah, for those traveling to places like Zion National Park and Lake Powell. However, lanes are narrowed on I-15 in Washington County and over the Santa Clara River south of St. George. For travel to that area, UDOT suggests leaving a day earlier or staying a day later to avoid peak travel times and delays.

Due to heavy snowfall, many seasonal roads remain closed including the Monte Cristo Highway, Big Mountain Highway, Alpine Loop, and Mirror Lake Highway.

UHP and driving safely

You may also see more Utah Highway Patrol troopers hitting the road this weekend. They are going to be out in full force looking for aggressive drivers, drunk drivers and people not wearing their seat belts.

"The weather is warmer, speeds start to increase, people start to be lazy," UHP Trooper Jason Hunter said.

Hunter said Memorial Day weekend is one of the busiest for the UHP, and troopers hope this year people will be safe. "Watch your speed and be courteous to other drivers on the road," he said.

UTA services

Also, if you plan on using Frontrunner, TRAX or UTA buses on Memorial Day, you'll need to make another plan. UTA will close its services on Monday, then reopen on Tuesday.

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Written with contributions from Shara Park and Marc Giauque.

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