The state patrol prepares for one of the busiest times of the year.
By MAYSOON ABDELRASUL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
It’s a holiday weekend, and the weather forecast is unsettled.
There are more police patrols on the roads. Construction may slow down a few drivers .
Those on the road may be traveling because of obligations. Others have scrapped their trips because of the rise in gas prices.
Marie Francisco of Salem said she’s leaving today for Fremont for a graduation party. She should expect scattered showers and possible thunderstorms on her trip, said WFMJ-TV 21 Chief Meteorologist Mark Koontz.
He described the weather as “somewhat unsettled this weekend.”
Francisco said she has to go — but normally wouldn’t travel far with the gas prices so high.
Marcus Suffolk of Canfield said he is finding ways to save money on gas. He carpooled Friday to Hudson because it’s about an hour drive. “The gas prices are really putting a damper in my wallet,” he said.
Others are fed up with the gas prices entirely and are not going anywhere this weekend. Others canceled planned trips, citing high gas costs as a major factor.
“I just put in $12 and only got four gallons of gas,” John Blank from Canfield said. “That is just ridiculous.”
The Ohio State Highway Patrol may see fewer cars on the roads but is still prepared for one of the busiest travel times of the year.
Patrol Sgt. Rick Brown said Memorial Day weekend and Thanksgiving weekend are the two busiest holiday travel periods. He said 80 percent of the OSHP’s total manpower will be out this weekend. Many officers will be working overtime.
Brown said if there is congestion on the roads, accidents are bound to happen. He said one of the many factors of accidents is that drivers, both young and experienced, get distracted.
“Everyone should avoid talking on the cell phone, eliminate blind spots and keep your speed to the set limit or less,” he said.
Boardman Police Department is joining the 800 Ohio law enforcement agencies and 12,000 law enforcement and highway safety officials in the annual “Click it or Ticket” campaign. More police efforts will be made during the next two-week period to enforce seat belt use.
Road construction delays
The Ohio Department of Transportation tries to keep traffic moving smoothly by opening additional lanes wherever possible on the interstates.
But not all closures are unavoidable.
Justin Chesnic, an ODOT District 4 spokesman, said Interstate 80 bridge construction near Meander Reservoir is reduced to two lanes. State Route 11 has various restrictions between U.S. Route 224 and Interstate 680. He said he doesn’t expect many delays, because it is not a big stretch of road.
“Allow yourself extra time and drive carefully through the construction zones,” Chesnic said.
When driving through construction zones, commuters should take extra caution this weekend because of the stormy weather, Koontz advised. Koontz said things should clear up for Monday as the cold front moves east.
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport spokeswoman Pat Smith said Memorial Day weekend is traditionally not a busy one.
She said there are people who travel — but not as much as other holidays like Thanksgiving.