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Extra police, traffic expected for Labor Day weekend

Published August 28, 2013 11:02 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Officials say motorists should expect some heavy traffic over the long Labor Day weekend — even though most ongoing construction projects will be suspended. Drivers should also expect to see extra police watching for speeders or drunken drivers.

"There will be plenty of [extra] DUI shifts throughout the state this weekend, as well as a DUI blitz in Salt Lake County" on Friday, said Cpl. Todd Johnson, spokesman for the Utah Highway Patrol.

For travelers heading east, the Wyoming Highway Patrol also announced it will have extra officers working overtime shifts on freeways. Even people staying close to home may run into extra police because, for example, South Salt Lake announced it will have extra officers working DUI patrols all weekend.

"On the Wasatch Front, we'll expect heavy traffic. The majority of our crashes will be rear-end type collisions. So people need to give themselves plenty of following distance, especially in heavily congested areas," Johnson said.

He offered other tips for a safe weekend: "Plan ahead. Make sure everyone is properly restrained. And if anyone is going to consume alcohol, do it responsibly. Don't drive after drinking, or have a designated driver" who doesn't drink.

To drive home a sober-driving message, officers from Salt Lake City, Kaysville, the Utah County Sheriff's Office and the Utah Highway Patrol are taking part in an anti-DUI campaign. They will distribute custom DUI barbecue sauces and spatulas on Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. at the University of Utah. One label will read, for example, "Drive Sauced, Get Busted. Warden Ted's Tangy Orange Jumpsuit BBQ Sauce."

Meanwhile, spokesman John Gleason said the Utah Department of Transportation is suspending work for the weekend on most major projects to help travel flow more smoothly — including suspending bridge work in Lehi that had narrowed Interstate 15 to just one lane at times over recent weekends.

"Most major UDOT projects across the state will have all lanes open for the Labor Day weekend, such as the I-80 drainage project in Parleys Canyon and the I-15 bridge maintenance project in Lehi," he said.

Still, a few areas will have some restrictions.

For example near the Idaho border, "I-15 is reduced to one lane in each direction for concrete pavement maintenance from State Road 30 [at Riverside] to the Idaho border. Lane restrictions in this area are allowing the concrete repairs to cure properly," Gleason said.

Also on I-15 in southern Utah County, lanes will remain open between Payson and Spanish Fork "but the lanes are narrowed to 11 feet. Crews are widening eight miles of I-15 to add a third travel lane in each direction," Gleason said.

More than 2.5 million Mountain West residents are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home over the holiday weekend — up 5.4 percent over last year, according to a survey by the AAA travel services company.

"This resurgence of travel is partly due to improved consumer confidence, which is at a much higher level than 2012," said AAA Utah spokeswoman Rolayne Fairclough. "Although there are lingering budgetary concerns, Utahns will not let this last opportunity to celebrate summer go without a quick holiday getaway."

AAA says a family of four is expected to spend $670 over the weekend on an average road trip that is predicted to cover 1,060 miles. It estimates 2.1 million Mountain West residents are planning automobile trips, 217,000 are planning to fly and 210,000 will use other travel modes, such as bus or rail.

The Utah Transit Authority offers no bus or rail service on Labor Day, said UTA spokesman Remi Barron. Anti-DUI giveaway

Wasatch Front officers will distribute custom barbecue sauces and spatulas as part of an anti-DUI campaign Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. at the U. One label reads: "Drive Sauced, Get Busted. Warden Ted's Tangy Orange Jumpsuit BBQ Sauce."




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