Drivers may encounter ongoing road work, heavy traffic during Thanksgiving holiday

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Although most major highway construction projects have concluded for the year, drivers may encounter some ongoing road work as well as heavy traffic during the Thanksgiving holiday, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT).

“Drivers generally won’t have to deal with detours on major highways due to construction projects, but there are some areas where lane restrictions and reduced speeds may still be in place," said Don Greuel, WisDOT chief project services engineer.

Traffic is expected to be heavy on Friday, November 21, as deer hunters begin to flock to the woods and again on Wednesday, Nov. 26, when motorists travel to join friends and family for the Thanksgiving holiday.

In addition, football fans will be traveling to Madison on Saturday, November 29, to watch the Wisconsin Badgers play Minnesota and to Green Bay on Sunday, November 30, for the Packers vs. New England Patriots game. The Packer game traffic combined with deer hunters and holiday travelers returning home will make Sunday, November 30, an exceptionally busy day on major highways.

The heavy holiday traffic may cause sudden and unexpected back-ups, so WisDOT officials advise drivers to slow down and pay attention. As always, they must drive sober and buckle up. Motorists also should be prepared for inclement weather. Before traveling, they can check current road conditions online at or by calling 511 on their phone.

Significant highway projects that may affect Thanksgiving holiday travel include the following:

    Last year 11 people died in traffic crashes in Wisconsin during the Thanksgiving holiday period, which runs from 6 p.m. on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to midnight on the following Sunday.

    To help prevent crashes, WisDOT will display traffic safety messages on its electronic signs on major freeways during the holiday period.

    "This time of year, drivers need to be especially cautious because weather conditions can change rapidly, the hours of daylight decrease, and deer are extremely active," says David Pabst, director of the WisDOT Bureau of Transportation Safety. "If drivers make responsible decisions, they can prevent crashes and help ensure a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving for everyone."