Holiday patrols

MARQUETTE – The Michigan State Police Office of Highway Safety Planning is reminding travelers to wear their seat belts and drive sober this Labor Day weekend.

MSP, sheriffs’ offices and local law enforcement are stepping up their enforcement with extra patrols as part of the federally funded “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, which began Aug. 15 and runs through Labor Day, according to an OHSP press release.

“The Labor Day holiday weekend is a time for many families to celebrate and travel our great state,” OHSP Director Michael L. Prince said. “For law enforcement officers, however, it is a time for extra drunk driving and seat belt patrols.”

During the Labor Day holiday last year, 10 people were killed in traffic crashes, the OHSP said. Of those, three were alcohol-related, and one of the drivers who was killed was not wearing a seat belt.

According to a AAA Michigan press release, more than 1 million Michiganders plan to travel by automobile this weekend, a slight increase from previous years. Gas prices are also expected to be slightly lower than 2013, AAA said, though it expects the price of gas to have little impact on the number of people traveling.

“The Labor Day holiday is traditionally the last hurrah for summer vacationing in Michigan,” said Susan Hiltz, public affairs director of AAA Michigan. “With our state’s deep roots in the Labor movement, the economy’s modest gains and more Americans joining the labor force, Michiganders have triple the reasons to celebrate.”

The Michigan Department of Transportation is also making it easier for travelers hitting the road this weekend by suspending as many of its construction projects as possible between Friday afternoon and Tuesday morning. Of the 156 current projects, 126 will have lane restrictions lifted, according to an MDOT press release.

In the Upper Peninsula, the following construction zones will remain active during the holiday weekend:

– In Chippewa County near Rudyard, I-75 will have a posted detour in effect for two projects between M-134 and M-48

– In Houghton County, M-26 will have two lanes open between the Portage lift bridge and Dollar Bay with a temporary roadway

– In Schoolcraft County near Manistique, M-149 will have a posted detour in effect at Dufour Creek

– U.S. 2 in Ironwood in Gogebic County will have eastbound traffic detoured via local roads in Ironwood and Hurley, Wis.

– In Schoolcraft County near Manistique, U.S. 2 will have one lane open in each direction from east of the Delta/Schoolcraft county line to M-149. Wide loads are restricted.

For up-to-date information on MDOT projects, view the list of statewide lane closures at www.michigan.gov/drive.

Zach Jay can be reached at 906-486-4401. His email address is zjay@miningjournal.net.