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Safety officials ready for holiday
Rising gas prices not likely to curb activity
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Forsyth County News

Gas prices have jumped more than 30 cents over the past month, but that’s not stopping Labor Day weekend plans.

AAA The Auto Club Group has projected a 3 percent increase in holiday travel from last year, with nearly 900,800 Georgians expected to drive more than 50 miles between today and Monday.

“Although overall economic growth continues to move at a sluggish pace, it is encouraging to see so many Americans value and prioritize travel,” said Brent Hubele, the group’s vice president.

The average price of unleaded gas across the state was about $3.70 per gallon last weekend. The cost has continued to rise this week, largely as a result of oil production stopping in the Gulf of Mexico due to Hurricane Isaac.

For those who aren’t traveling over the long holiday period, local public safety officials are ready.

Forsyth County Sheriff’s Capt. Tim House said the agency is going to be “out in full force patrolling the roads.”

That includes random safety checks throughout the county, as well as having units at local parks and a boat patrol on Lake Lanier.

“We’re going to have all our people out,” he said. “If the weather is good, it will be like most holidays. There will be a lot of traffic in Forsyth County and a lot of people on the lake.”

Alcohol often plays a role in long holiday weekends, but House said “most people realize that if you enter into Forsyth County, you don’t need to be drinking and driving because we’re very aggressive on DUI in Forsyth.”

In terms of fire safety, Fire Division Chief Jason Shivers said Labor Day isn’t historically more active in Forsyth County.

“In the past, some Labor Days have been quite busy for emergency services and conversely others have been very calm,” he said.

“We of course will be prepared regardless. We will be prepared and at full staff levels.”

To help with anticipated traffic during the weekend, the state Department of Transportation is suspending all lane closures from noon Friday through 5 a.m. Tuesday morning.

In a statement, DOT district engineer Bayne Smith noted that some construction crews still could be working along highways over the weekend, and urged caution when traveling.

“We’ve averaged nearly 2,000 accidents across our state during recent Labor Day weekends,” he said.  “On average, more than 15 people die and more than 900 are injured on Georgia roads each year during this holiday.”