Lake County Motorist

Suburban Chicagoland commuter and motorist weblog

Road Weekend Ahead: Memorial Day

Welcome to a special edition of Road WeekEND Ahead for the Memorial Day weekend!

With $4-a-gallon gas spreading like crabgrass, holiday drivers will be extra-happy to avoid fuel-burning traffic delays. The transit agencies are looking out for you.

And they’re off: On Friday, May 23, Metra is running a special “Early Quit” schedule to ferry lucky half-day workers out of the city.

The Illinois Tollway will limit lane closures over the weekend, specifically from noon on Friday, May 23 to 9 a.m. on Tuesday, May 27. Counterflow lanes and long-term closures remain in effect, but no temporary lane closures are planned.

However, there is no “speed-limit holiday”: The cap is 45 MPH in the construction zones even if no workers are present.

IDOT is also limiting construction over the weekend. All lanes on the Edens and other Chicagoland expressways will be open.

Motorists heading across Illinois may want to check IDOT’s Road Closures List before hitting the road. Fortunately, there are only two points listed as of May 22.

Click it or ticket: The Illinois State Police will ramp up safety belt enforcement over the holiday weekend, utilizing a program called “Stay Alive on the I’s”. From the ISP’s press release:

The enforcement initiative begins on Friday, May 23, at noon and continues until 10 p.m. During that time, all interstates will be saturated with Troopers placed every 10 miles along interstate corridors. The “Stay Alive on the I’s” enforcement initiative concludes on Monday, May 26, with a detail from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.

You can safely assume the troopers – and law enforcement everywhere – will be keeping watch for impaired drivers. Don’t be one of those drivers.

Memorial Day parades will affect traffic along their routes, so plan ahead and reroute. Chicago’s parade takes place Saturday beginning at noon. In Lake County, many communities are hosting their parades on Monday; community and media websites should have updated schedules in the days to come.

Metra and CTA will operate under holiday schedules (Pace will operate under a Sunday schedule) on Memorial Day. Metra’s $5 Weekend Pass may be valid on Memorial Day as well based on prior experience, but there is no specific confirmation of this on Metra’s website as of this writing.

Park it: Memorial Day is a “Parking Meter Holiday” in the City of Chicago; parking is as free as the day is long. As for the suburbs, it’s best to check with the municipality.

Two-wheelin’ traffic alert: As reported in this week’s “Road Week Ahead”, Sunday, May 25 is the annual Bike the Drive event in Chicago. Lake Shore Drive is closed to motorized vehicle traffic for five early-morning hours, allowing bicyclists to enjoy a leisurely ride along the 30-mile (round-trip) boulevard. Visit the event’s website to learn more.

Now, for the weather: Forecasters are predicting a sunny Saturday, rain on Sunday and storms on Monday, with temps climbing from Saturday’s 60s to Monday’s low-80s. Here’s hoping Monday’s 40% chance of storms whittles away to nothing as the weekend progresses.

Take some time to reflect on Memorial Day’s history and purpose. Although commonly viewed as the unofficial first day of summer, Memorial Day honors the soldiers who have died while serving our country.

Enjoy the holiday weekend, but don’t drink and drive, and do stay safe.

Side note: “Road Week Ahead” will be published on Monday, May 26 instead of Sunday, May 25 due to the holiday.

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3 Responses - Comments are closed.

  1. kilax says:

    Is ANYONE going 45 in the construction zones? Anyone?

  2. Russ says:

    I haven’t seen a worker yet. It’s just a bunch of street furniture all over the place.

  3. I *try* to go 45, but with all of the cars and semis zooming up to my bumper and then whizzing past me, it’s hard not to creep up to a faster speed. Will be interesting to see what effect the crackdowns have on speed, especially during the off hours when there is no congestion!

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