Reducing 4th of July Travel Headaches

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KIMT NEWS 3 – Those 4th of July trips are a great way to get the family together and enjoy the summer weather. But summer also seems to be the time for highway construction and everyone else also wants to take a mini vacation too.

So the Iowa DOT is encouraging folks to plan ahead and use technology to their advantage.

It’s just a few days until the 4th of July and that means folks are about to hit the road.

Father and son duo, Lew and Doug Robertson come to Clear Lake every year the festivities, but it involves a bit of a drive.

Le Claire, IA Resident, Doug Robertson said, “It’s 3 1/2 for me for me and about 1 1/2 to 2 hours depending on how fast you drive for Dad.”

These guys are arriving days before the 4th to avoid the holiday rush.

Doug Robertson said, “I’ve done the night before maybe the morning of before and it’s typically not an experience I want to repeat, It gets pretty busy on the roads.”

Traffic and construction can spell headaches for drivers, that’s why the Iowa Department of Transportation is helping travelers plan ahead with 511 calling, texting, and web notifications.

Iowa DOT Field Services Coordinator, Pete Hjelmstad said, “Maybe you’re going through a place where there’s construction going on, there are some lane closures, so you can expect traffic slow downs, or there can be detours, or maybe the road in going to be closed.”

You can also use social media like Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.

Hjelmstad said, “It’s important for us to get the information out to as many people as we can, as quickly as we can, and as conveniently as we can for everybody, and obviously we know social media is pretty much where it’s at right now.”

Doug uses the 511 system and says it’s a huge asset.

He said, “It’s good, I mean, you can get the information you need and you can also go on the website and find out where construction is going to happen, so if you use it, it works.”

But his Dad, not so much.

Lew Robertson said, “I pretty much don’t pay any attention to it, I just drive and complain if there’s a problem to complain about, but mostly it’s a great experience.”

It’s a simple step to keep travel stress to a minimum. Because after all, Independence Day means having the freedom to celebrate, rather than being trapped behind the wheel.

Hjlelmstad said, “Just be careful, there are a lot of people on the roads, so make sure you have your seat belts on, put the cell phone down while your driving, get there safely and enjoy the holiday.”

The 511 system is something we mostly think about using in the winter time to find out about road conditions, but DOT officials say the technology is perfect for the summer mainly because it lists all the construction projects, which is something most GPS systems won’t tell you.

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