Holiday weekend means closings, increased GSP presence

Posted 11/22/16

It seems like most of Bartow County will be shut down for the Thanksgiving holiday.

All Bartow County government offices, including the courts, will be closed Thursday and Friday, as will all city government offices in Cartersville, Adairsville, …

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Holiday weekend means closings, increased GSP presence


It seems like most of Bartow County will be shut down for the Thanksgiving holiday.

All Bartow County government offices, including the courts, will be closed Thursday and Friday, as will all city government offices in Cartersville, Adairsville, Emerson, Euharlee and Kingston. White will be closed Thursday only.

There will be no trash pickup in Cartersville Thursday or Friday. Garbage and recycling pickup will resume Monday, but brush and yard waste will not be picked up at all next week. Leaf pickup will continue.

None of Bartow County’s three library branches will be open Thursday or Friday.

All public health offices, including the Bartow County Health Department at 100 Zena Drive in Cartersville, will shut down Thursday and Friday, as will the Cartersville-Bartow Chamber of Commerce.

Students at Chattahoochee Technical College and Georgia Highlands College won’t have classes Thursday or Friday, but Bartow County and Cartersville City school systems and Excel Christian Academy students have the whole week off.

The Bartow History Museum, Booth Western Art Museum, Etowah Indian Mounds and Tellus Science Museum are all closed Thursday only.

All state government offices will be shut down Thursday and Friday, but all federal government offices will be closed only on Thursday.

The U.S. Postal Service will not be delivering mail Thanksgiving Day but will resume operations Friday.

One agency that won’t have the holiday off is the Georgia State Patrol, and troopers are urging Thanksgiving travelers to make it to their destinations in one piece by observing all traffic laws.

The 102-hour holiday travel period begins at 6 p.m. today and ends at midnight Monday morning.

“Troopers will be focusing on occupant-protection violations and keeping a close eye out for impaired drivers and other traffic violations that could potentially cause a crash,” said Col. Mark W. McDonough, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety. “We want to make holiday travel as safe as possible.”

During last year’s Thanksgiving holiday, troopers investigated 788 traffic crashes across the state that resulted in 377 injuries and nine fatalities, according to a press release.

Troopers also arrested 319 people for driving under the influence and issued 9,620 citations and 15,729 warnings.

Georgia Department of Transportation spokesman Dr. Mohamed Arafa said the Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest travel periods of the year.

“While I don't have last year's number of fatalities or injuries [in Bartow County], I can tell you Thanksgiving travel can be dangerous by the mere fact that more than 50 million people are expected to travel on the nation's highways,” he said. “... Automobile transportation remains the most popular mode, with 90 percent of travelers opting to hit the road as opposed to flying. The average round-trip car distance is over 600 miles. That is a lot of people doing a lot of driving.”

The GSP, which will be patrolling secondary roads as well as interstates, is urging drivers to make everyone in their vehicle wear a seat belt, to properly restrain small children in a car seat, to not drive distracted, to obey the posted speed and to designate a sober driver if consuming alcohol.

“Sadly, each holiday period, more than one-half of the people killed in motor vehicle crashes are impaired or not using safety belts,” McDonough said.Arafa said travelers also should be prepared for dangerous traffic and weather conditions in certain parts of the country.

“If you’re one of these 50 million people getting behind the wheel this Thanksgiving, be aware that driving may be difficult with packed roads and bumper-to-bumper traffic,” he said. “Plus, weather conditions in the Northeast and Midwest may be less than ideal.”

But a little preparation before loading up and heading out can ensure a safe, stress-free Thanksgiving road trip, according to the DOT:

• Leave yourself plenty of time to get to your destination and don’t forget to buckle up. Observe the speed limit, be well-rested and alert, don’t follow cars too closely and make frequent stops or rotate drivers.

• Limit driving distractions by avoiding one of the most dangerous distractions — using your cell phone while driving. Give the phone to a passenger and let him or her do the talking or wait until you stop for gas or to use the restroom to make your calls.

• Make sure your car is ready for the Thanksgiving drive. If it’s time for an oil change, make sure to get one before heading out on a long car trip. Also, check the tire pressure and make sure the windshield fluid is full. It’s no fun being stranded in an auto shop in a strange locale. Plus, many are closed.

• If at all possible, try to avoid the busiest highways during the extended Thanksgiving holiday weekend, especially on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after the holiday.

• Map out your route beforehand, but make sure you have a GPS, smartphone or a map in the car in case a road is blocked. If this happens, activate Plan B to avoid unnecessary delays.

• Be aware of changing weather conditions if your are heading to the Northeast or Midwest. November weather can be tricky at times. While it’s sunny and warm in Georgia, it can be bitterly cold with snow or ice in other states. If you’re traveling to a colder climate, be sure to check the weather forecast before heading out.

• Pack an emergency kit. Even if you have an emergency road assistance plan, you may have to wait hours if you get stuck because of the sheer number of travelers on the road. Carry some essentials in your trunk or hatch.

The holiday traffic count will be updated throughout the holiday travel period on the Georgia Department of Public Safety Twitter page: