Anyone looking to travel outside of Tooele County over the holiday weekend to visit family or go on vacation can expect delays and congestion on at least one of Utah’s major interstate highways.
The Utah Department of Transportation recommends motorists plan ahead for delays on Interstate 15 along the Wasatch Front on Friday and Monday due to holiday traffic, according to a news release Thursday. UDOT’s traffic engineers expect delays of up to 40 minutes on southbound I-15 through Salt Lake and Utah counties on Friday, as well as up to 30-minute delays on northbound I-15 through Davis County.
The heaviest traffic Friday is expected between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., with longer delays during the evening commute, the release said.
On Monday, which is a federal legal holiday, delays of up to 20 minutes are expected on I-15 between Provo and Nephi, and up to 10 minutes on U.S. Route 6 in Spanish Fork Canyon, according to UDOT. Traffic volumes are anticipated to increase around 2 p.m. and continue through 8 p.m.
While many UDOT construction projects will suspend construction and open all lanes to traffic, some lane restrictions or traffic shifts will remain in place, the release said.
Some seasonal roads, such as Guardsman Pass, may not be opened by Memorial Day as they typically are due to heavy snowfalls this winter, according to UDOT. To see a list of seasonal state roads that remain closed, visit udottraffic.utah.gov.
Middle Canyon, however, is expected to open today at noon, according to Tooele County Facilities Management Director Mark McKendrick.
With extra vehicles on the road, UDOT cautioned drivers to stay alert, use seat belts, put away distractions and take breaks to avoid drowsy driving.
The holiday is also the beginning of Utah’s 100 deadliest days, as fatal crashes double in the summer months between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day, according to UDOT and Utah Highway Patrol. Human error, including speeding, aggressive driving, drowsiness, impairment, in-car distractions and not buckling up, cause 94% of all crashes.
All told, nearly 43 million Americans are expected to travel over the Memorial Day weekend, according to AAA. The projections are for the second-highest travel volume on record for the holiday weekend, an increase of 1.5 million over last year.
The majority of travelers — 37.6 million — are expected to travel by car, the most ever on the holiday weekend, according to AAA.