What drivers can expect traveling Memorial Day weekend - WNEM TV 5

What drivers can expect traveling Memorial Day weekend

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
SAGINAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

Memorial Day weekend is one of the most traveled weekends of the year.

While it usually entails trips up north, barbecuing and boating - it also involves heavy traffic.

Ron Moniz traveled up north with his family on Friday. He started his trip from Auburn Hills at 2:30 p.m. and said it was smooth sailing.

"It wasn't too bad. We had a southbound accident in Flint, a rollover with a semi. Hopefully no one was hurt, but they had traffic all backed up southbound and all the gawkers were northbound," Moniz said.

He said he knows things will not be easy come Monday.

"Traffics gonna be heavy. Traffic is gonna be very heavy. We expect that, but that's OK," Moniz said.

The Michigan Department of Transportation suspended most projects for the weekend.

"Traffic seemed to be open. They're not doing the construction for Memorial weekend, which is nice," Moniz said.

Jocelyn Hall, with MDOT, broke down what drivers can expect with the construction zone on I-75 in Saginaw County.

"At some point on Saturday afternoon when a lot of the congestion has filtered through, we'll move that wall and we'll be allowing three lanes of southbound traffic to come through and maintaining two lanes on northbound," Hall said.

Farther north is another trouble spot Hall is urging drivers to be aware of.

"Our north region has a zone on I-75, south of West Branch. So that is an area where drivers can see lane closure and definitely lane shifts. So something drivers are gonna wanna be aware of," Hall said.

As for Moniz, he is happy to face the traffic to make it to Oscoda.

"The in-laws have a little cottage up there and we're gonna spend the weekend up there," he said.

New speed limits in place

Some Michigan highways now have a 75 miles per hour speed limit.

Many drivers said the new speed limit on some stretches of road haven't made much of a difference when it comes to how fast they go.

Nancy Nalli, who was on her way up north from Southgate, said she thinks some people are going to go as fast as they want no matter what the speed limit is.

"They'll go even faster. They're moving along a little bit above the speed limit most of the time," Nalli said.

I-75 in Bay County is a stretch where the speed limit was increased to 75 mph.

Michigan State Police Sgt. Jim Lang said it's simply unpredictable when it comes to how fast people will drive, but he wants drivers to take extra caution.

"Put on that seat belt, drive safely and drive within the law and you'll get there OK," Lang said.

Boy Scout troop provides pick-me-up

For drivers who need a little pick-me up, Boy Scout Troop 108 of Bay City is set up at the rest stop off of northbound I-75 near Linwood. They provide coffee, donuts and other snacks to motorists making their way up north for the weekend. The troop has done this since 2010.

"This is a great project and I would recommend anybody stop," said Julie Perry, driver.

It's part of Operation Care - an effort to keep travelers like David Chesney alert and safe on the interstate.

"It's good to have coffee, stay awake," Chesney said.

As for the Boy Scouts, they said it's important for them to be there.

"I have heard multiple stories about people falling asleep on the road and it's a scary thought to think. So I think this is a big help to those people," said Johnathon Sansburn, the troop's senior patrol leader.

Sansburn is there to assist any way he can. The same goes for Patricia Bilbrey.

"I actually saw a man one time go off the road and into a ditch," Bilbrey said.

She brought her grandson Ethan to be part of the potentially life-saving effort.

"It warms my heart to see him learning at a young age to help others," Bilbrey said.

That help is appreciated by Perry and others like her. She said she counts on the Boy Scouts every year.

"They're here Memorial Day and Labor Day and I love them," Perry said.

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