Higher gas prices, fewer road restrictions during Memorial Day weekend

(Journal photo by Corey Kelly)

MARQUETTE — To ensure people are traveling safe this Memorial Day weekend, the Michigan Department of Transportation is removing lane restrictions on almost 73 percent of its road and bridge projects statewide to ease congestion and traffic delays for holiday travelers, according to a press release issued Wednesday.

Beginning at 3 p.m. Friday and continuing until 6 a.m. Tuesday, 89 out of 122 projects in Michigan will have lane restrictions removed. While the majority of operations in MDOT construction zones will be suspended over the weekend, drivers are reminded that equipment and other traffic configurations, such as temporary shifts or shoulder closures, may still be in place, the release states.

Aside from traffic changes, travelers may notice a spike in gas prices as well, says the Michigan Agency for Energy.

According to a MAE analysis of trends in the state’s fuel and power sectors, demand for other forms of energy are also expected to increase this summer. With electricity up 1.5 percent from last year, natural gas is believed to jump 8 percent, and diesel fuel will likely rise to 2.6 percent.

Nationwide gas prices are anticipated to be 20 percent higher this year than they were in 2017, with people paying an average of $2.90 per gallon during April through September, according to the federal Energy Information Administration. Last year’s average gas price was $2.41.

According to AAA Michigan, more than 1.3 million people from Michigan are expected to travel 50 or more miles during the weekend, a nearly 5 percent increase from 2017 — the most in more than a decade.

“We expect record travel this summer as people take in all our beautiful state has to offer,” Kirk T. Steudle, state transportation director, said in the MDOT release. “That’s why it is more important than ever that we slow down, stay alert and avoid distractions in construction zones. Let’s be mindful of the men and women working there who want to go home to their families at the end of the day, just as we do.”

The following is a list of work zones in the Upper Peninsula that will remain active or have lane restrictions during the Memorial Day weekend:

≤ M-64 in Ontonagon County will be restricted to one lane in alternating directions over the Ontonagon River via temporary signals.

≤ M-123 in Chippewa County will be restricted to one lane in alternating directions over Black Creek via temporary signals. A 9-foot width restriction is in place.

≤ U.S. 2 in Dickinson County has two lanes open between Calvary Street and Dawn’s Lake Road with a traffic shift.

≤ U.S. 2 in Mackinac County will be closed over the Cut River with a posted detour.

≤ U.S. 2, U.S. 41 and M-35 in Delta County will have two lanes open between Mead Road and County Road 426 with a traffic shift.

Jaymie Depew can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. Her email address is jdepew@miningjournal.net.