Out2News Traffic & Travel

Martin County Traffic Report June 24 through July 1

FDOT Open

MARTIN, ST. LUCIE & INDIAN RIVER COUNTIES, Fla. – Treasure Coast traffic will be affected this week by ongoing construction projects and maintenance work in Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) officials report. Please note, any full road, ramp or bridge closures have been highlighted below.

CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS

MARTIN COUNTY
(Hobe Sound, Palm City, City of Stuart, Stuart, Jensen Beach, Jupiter Island, Port Salerno, Rio, Indiantown, Tequesta, Town of Sewalls Point)

1. State Road 714/SW Martin Highway Widening Project
Description: This 1.127-mile widening project began on Aug. 6, 2021. Project improvements include widening SR 714/SW Martin Highway from a two-lane undivided rural roadway to a four-lane divided urban roadway, widening the bridge over Florida’s Turnpike, constructing seven-foot buffered bike lanes and six-foot sidewalks on both sides of the roadway, and installing signing, signalization, and lighting upgrades.
Cost/Completion: $21.3 million. Completion is expected in fall 2024.
Traffic Impact:
• The westbound bike lanes on SR 714/SW Martin Highway are closed. Cyclists and motorists should share the road. For more information, please contact Community Outreach Specialist Samantha Kayser at 772-579-5479.
Maintenance Lane Closures Related to Construction:
• Eastbound and westbound State Road 714/SW Martin Highway between SW Citrus Boulevard and SW Armellini Avenue, in Palm City, 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., Monday, June 27 through Friday, July 1, 1 of 2 lanes closed, for utility pole removal and installation operations. Access to motorists will still be provided. Flaggers and law enforcement officers will be on site as needed to help guide the flow of traffic. For more information, please contact Rafael Ureña at 772-882-5084.
Turnpike Lane Closures Related to Construction:
• Northbound and southbound Florida’s Turnpike/SR 91 between Milepost 133 and Milepost 136. Overnight single lane closures, 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., Monday, June 27, and nightly through Thursday, June 30. For more information, please contact Community Outreach Specialist Samantha Kayser at 772-579-5479.
• Northbound and southbound Florida’s Turnpike/SR 91 between Milepost 134 and Milepost 136. Daytime shoulder closures, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday, June 27, and daily through Thursday, June 30. For more information, please contact Community Outreach Specialist Samantha Kayser at 772-579-5479.

2. State Road (SR) 5/U.S. Highway (U.S.) 1 Resurfacing Project
Description: This 1.426-mile resurfacing project from SR 732/NW Jensen Beach Boulevard to the Martin County/St. Lucie County line began on Monday, May 2, 2022. Project improvements include milling and resurfacing the existing roadway; adding bicycle lanes within the project limits: 5-feet wide from SR 732/NW Jensen Beach Boulevard to NW Sunset Boulevard and 7-feet wide from NW Sunset Boulevard to the Martin County/St. Lucie County Line; upgrading curb ramps to meet American with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards; and upgrading pedestrian signals, intersection lighting, pavement markings, and signing to current standards.
Cost/Completion: $3,071,783.35. Completion is expected spring 2023.
Traffic Impact:
• One lane in each direction on U.S. 1 from NW Jensen Beach Boulevard to the Martin County/St. Lucie County line will be closed Monday, June 27 through Friday, July 1 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for concrete removal and replacement, clearing and grubbing, and lighting/signal boring work. For more information, please contact Community Outreach Specialist Samantha Kayser at 772-579-5479.

3. State Road (SR) 76/Kanner Highway Resurfacing Project
Description: This 1.4-mile resurfacing project from north of Cabana Point Circle to SR 5/US 1 in the City of Stuart will begin on Monday, August 22, 2022. Project improvements include milling and resurfacing the existing roadway; some minor widening will occur along northbound and southbound SR 76/Kanner Highway; upgrading crosswalks and curb ramps to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards; installing sidewalks, signage and pavement markings; upgrading pedestrian lighting at two signalized intersections at SR 714/Monterey Road and SR 5/US 1; and, upgrading or restoring drainage pipes and replacing sections of the City of Stuart’s watermain at various locations.
Cost/Completion: $5,064,094.62. Completion is expected summer 2023.
Traffic Impact:
• All lanes are open. For more information, please contact Community Outreach Specialist Samantha Kayser at 772-579-5479.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY
(City of Port St. Lucie, Port St. Lucie, White City, City of Fort Pierce, Fort Pierce, Okeechobee, St. Lucie West, Tradition)

4. Kings Highway Widening Project, from South of State Road 70 to North of the I-95 Overpass
Description: Kings Highway / State Road 713 is being widened from south of State Road 70 to north of the I-95 overpass in the City of Ft. Pierce and unincorporated St. Lucie County. The improvements on this 3.417-mile project include: reconstructing the existing two-lane undivided Kings Highway with a newly constructed four‐lane divided roadway, relocating Canal No. 40 and Canal No. 32E to accommodate widening to the west, realigning Kings Highway at the intersection with Okeechobee Road which will improve the existing connection with the Turnpike, replacing existing culverts/swales and installing a closed drainage system and retention ponds, installing a new highway lighting system, and upgrading signalization with vehicle detection devices and ITS cameras.
Cost/Completion: $45.2 million. Completion is expected in winter 2022.
Traffic Impact:
• The speed limit on Kings Highway from south of Okeechobee Road / State Road 70 to north of the I-95 overpass has been temporarily reduced from 50 MPH to 40 MPH. This speed limit reduction will be in place through the end of the project.
• One lane in either direction of Kings Highway may be intermittently closed Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through fall 2022 for roadway work. Two-way traffic will be maintained by a flag crew. During this time, intermittent side street closures may occur, maintaining two-way traffic at all times.
• Southbound and northbound Kings Highway at the Orange Avenue intersection is reduced to one lane in each direction through summer 2022, temporarily removing the designated turning lanes, to facilitate roadway reconstruction.
• Eastbound Orange Avenue just west of Kings Highway is reduced to one through lane through summer 2022 to facilitate roadway reconstruction.
• Northbound and southbound traffic on Kings Highway from just north of Crossroads Parkway to south of Orange Avenue is shifted to the east on the newly constructed road to facilitate reconstruction of Kings Highway.
• Traffic on Kings Highway between the State Road 70/Okeechobee Road intersection and Pruitt Research Center Road was shifted to the newly constructed southbound lanes, to allow for widening operations and new northbound lane construction through early summer 2022. One lane of traffic will remain open in each direction, separated by double yellow lines (no passing zone).
• Northbound and southbound traffic on Kings Highway between north of Picos Road and Orange Avenue was shifted to the new northbound pavement, to allow for widening operations and southbound lane construction through Fall 2022. One lane of traffic will be open in each direction separated by double yellow lines (no passing zone).
• One lane in either direction of Kings Highway from Okeechobee Road to north of the I-95 bridge will be closed intermittently Monday, June 27 through Friday, July 1 from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. for roadway work. Traffic will be maintained by a flag crew.
• One lane in either direction of Kings Highway from Okeechobee Road to north of the I-95 bridge will be closed Sunday, June 26 through Thursday, June 30 from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. for maintenance of traffic control work.
• One lane in either direction of Orange Avenue from just west of Kings Highway to just east of Kings Highway will be closed Sunday, June 26 through Thursday, June 30 from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. for drainage work. Traffic will be maintained by a flag crew.
• Northbound and southbound traffic on Kings Highway just south of Orange Avenue will be shifted to the new southbound pavement until Access Road, where northbound traffic will shift back onto the existing northbound pavement to allow for widening operations and lane construction through Fall 2022. One lane of traffic will remain open in each direction, separated by double yellow lines (no passing zone. Please note, the traffic shift is expected to be completed by Friday, July 1 pending weather or unforeseen circumstances. Please see flyer attached. For more information, please contact Community Outreach Specialist Samantha Kayser at 772-579-5479.

5. SW Port St. Lucie Boulevard Widening Project, from South of SW Alcantarra Boulevard to South of SW Darwin Boulevard
Description: Construction on this 0.713-mile widening project began on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, in the City of Port St. Lucie. The City of Port St. Lucie, as Project Sponsor, requested the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), District Four design and construct this project through application to the St. Lucie Transportation Planning Organization and City of Port St. Lucie Resolution 18-R42. Project improvements include widening SW Port St. Lucie Boulevard from a two-lane undivided roadway to a four-lane divided roadway, installing three new signalized intersections with mast arms at SW Alcantarra Boulevard, SW Tulip Boulevard, and SW Tunis Boulevard, adding a right turn lane on SW Port St. Lucie Boulevard’s north approach to SW Alcantarra Boulevard, constructing an 18’ wide raised median with curb and gutter, upgrading crosswalks and curb ramps to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, constructing 8’-10’ wide sidewalks on both sides of SW Port St. Lucie Boulevard for pedestrian and bicycle use, and 6’ wide sidewalks on side streets, installing a new closed drainage system, signing, pavement markings, signalization, and lighting upgrades, and landscaping for the median including trees, irrigation and stamped concrete.
Cost/Completion: $11,570,179. Completion is expected summer 2024.
Traffic Impact:
• Advanced Notice: Beginning at 8 a.m. Monday, June 27, 2022, SW Tunis Avenue at SW Port St. Lucie Boulevard, will be closed around-the-clock through approximately 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 29, for signalization mast arm foundation and new watermain utility pipe installation across the roadway. If the closure does not occur on Monday, June 27 through Wednesday, June 29, it’s anticipated to occur around-the-clock from 8 a.m. Thursday, June 20 through approximately 5 p.m. Friday, July 1. Traffic will be detoured as follows:
o Northbound and southbound SW Port St. Lucie Boulevard to eastbound SW Tunis Avenue will be detoured to eastbound SW Rice Avenue/SW Chartwell Street to westbound SW Tunis Avenue.
o Westbound SW Tunis Avenue motorists will be detoured to southbound SW Chartwell Street/SW Rice Avenue to SW Port St. Lucie Boulevard.
o The entrance on SW Tunis Avenue to Darwin Square will remain open. Please see attached flyer. For more information, please contact Community Outreach Specialist Samantha Kayser at 772-579-5479.
City of Port St. Lucie project/adjacent to project corridor:
The Port St. Lucie Boulevard South Project Segment 3, managed by the City of Port St. Lucie, is reconstructing approximately 0.7 miles of the existing four-lane roadway from SW Gatlin Boulevard to SW Darwin Boulevard and a portion of SW Darwin Boulevard through Winter 2023.
Traffic Impact:
• Speed limit lowered to 30 mph for the duration of the construction project.
• Closure of existing median openings at both SW Yale Street and SW Cairo Avenue.
• One northbound through lane will be eliminated on SW Port St. Lucie Boulevard north of SW Aurelia Avenue to Gatlin Boulevard, leaving one through lane and one dedicated left turn lane onto westbound Gatlin Boulevard. For more information about the City of Port St. Lucie’s Segment 3 Project, please contact Beth Zsoka, Project Public Information Specialist at 772-871-5176.

6. St. Lucie West Boulevard Widening Project, from Commerce Center Drive to Peacock Boulevard
Description: This 1.814-mile widening project began on Monday, January 24, 2022, in the City of Port St. Lucie. The City of Port St. Lucie, as Project Sponsor, requested the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), District Four design and construct this project through application to the St. Lucie Transportation Planning Organization and City of Port St. Lucie Resolution 20-R75. Project improvements include constructing a new 3-lane eastbound bridge over I-95, separated 10-feet from the existing bridge; widening St. Lucie West Boulevard to accommodate two (2) eastbound and westbound travel lanes, with a third eastbound lane between the I-95 southbound and northbound ramps, two (2) eastbound left turn lanes at the I-95 northbound on ramp, two (2) westbound right turn lanes at the I-95 northbound on ramp; reconstructing/widening the I-95 ramps; connecting the existing St. Lucie West Boulevard roadway to the new eastbound bridge from the east and west directions; constructing 7-foot buffered bike lanes/paved shoulder and 5-foot to 6-foot wide sidewalks on both sides of the roadway; constructing a 22-foot to 40-foot lane-line to lane-line curbed median with curb and gutter; installing fencing retrofits on the north side of the existing bridge, and new railing on the eastbound bridge; and, installing new traffic signals with enhanced synchronization and timing at I-95 ramps.
Cost/Completion: $15,518,729. Completion is expected summer 2023.
Traffic Impact:
• Eastbound St. Lucie West Boulevard to southbound I-95 traffic is shifted to the newly paved temporary on-ramp.
• Eastbound and westbound traffic on St. Lucie West Boulevard just west of I-95 near the southbound on and off-ramps is shifted to the north through July 2022.
• The eastbound lane of St. Lucie West Boulevard just west of the I-95 northbound on and off-ramps will be shifted to the south through July 2022.
• The bike lane and shoulder along eastbound St. Lucie West Boulevard are closed through August 2022. The asphalt pathway along westbound St. Lucie West Boulevard will be open and can be used by bicycles.
• Intermittent shoulder closures may occur Monday, June 27 through Friday, July 1, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for road work at the following locations:
o Northbound and southbound I-95 mainline from just north and south of the St. Lucie West Boulevard overpass
o All I-95 on and off-ramps at St. Lucie West Boulevard
o Eastbound and westbound St. Lucie West Boulevard from Champions Way to SW Peacock Boulevard
• One lane in either direction of St. Lucie West Boulevard between Champions Way and SW Peacock Boulevard may be intermittently closed Monday, June 27 through Friday, July 1, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. for roadway work. A flagging operation will be in place to help direct traffic.
• One northbound and southbound lane of I-95 may be intermittently closed from just north and south of the St. Lucie West Boulevard overpass Monday, June 27 through Friday, July 1, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for bridge work.
• One northbound and southbound lane of I-95 may be intermittently closed from just north and south of the St. Lucie West Boulevard overpass Monday, June 27 through Friday, July 1, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. for bridge work. No more than one lane will be closed at a time in either direction of I-95.
• Two southbound and northbound lanes of I-95 from one mile south to one mile north of the St. Lucie West Boulevard overpass may be intermittently closed Monday, June 27 through Friday, July 1, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. for crane relocation. For more information, please contact Community Outreach Specialist Samantha Kayser at 772-579-5479.

7. State Road (SR) 716/Port St. Lucie Boulevard Over Long Creek & N. Fork of the St. Lucie River Bridge Rehabilitation Project
Description: This 0.3-mile bridge rehabilitation project began on Saturday, March 19, 2022, in the City of Port St. Lucie. Project improvements include removing the existing deteriorated east and west seawalls (concrete caps and steel sheet piles) and replacing with rubble riprap slope protection, and repairing the existing spalls in the concrete piles and concrete beams at various locations.
Cost/Completion: $1,436,682. Completion is expected fall 2022.
Traffic Impact:
• One lane in each direction on State Road 716/Port St. Lucie Boulevard between SE Veterans Memorial Parkway and SE Floresta Drive may be closed Monday, June 27 through Friday, July 1 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for debris removal. Only one lane will be closed at a time. For more information, please contact Community Outreach Specialist Samantha Kayser at 772-579-5479.

8. State Road (SR) A1A North Causeway Over Intracoastal Waterway (ICWW) Bridge Replacement Project
Description: This bridge replacement project is anticipated to begin in fall 2022, in the City of Fort Pierce. Project improvements include constructing a new high-level fixed bridge connected directly to U.S. 1 over the FEC Railroad, Old Dixie Highway, and the ICWW featuring: one (1) 12-foot travel lane in each direction and navigational clearances of 85-feet vertical and 125-feet horizontal at the waterway channel; installing a barrier protected sidewalk on the south side of the bridge and a barrier protected, buffered shared-use path on the north side of the bridge; building an Observation Deck beneath the west side of the new bridge structure; installing 7-foot buffered bicycle lanes within shoulders on either side of SR A1A; constructing a shared-use path along Old Dixie Highway to provide connectivity to the East Coast Greenway; constructing a new access road under the bridge to businesses east of the FEC Railroad; extending Juanita Avenue from US-1 to Old Dixie Highway; and, connecting U.S. 1 and Old Dixie Highway along Sunny Lane.
Cost/Completion: $111,595,617. Completion is expected summer 2026.
Traffic Impact:
• All lanes are open. For more information, please contact Community Outreach Specialist Samantha Kayser at 772-579-5479.

9. State Road (SR) 9/I-95 Northbound and Southbound Off-Ramps at Gatlin Boulevard Roadway Improvements Project
Description: This 1.4-mile roadway improvements project began on Friday, June 10, 2022. Project improvements include widening southbound I-95 to provide a 12-foot auxiliary lane and a 12-foot shoulder (10-feet paved); widening I-95 southbound Gatlin Boulevard off-ramp for the addition of a right-turn lane and a left-turn lane; widening the inside of the I-95 northbound Gatlin Boulevard off-ramp to provide three (3) left-turn lanes; widening eastbound and westbound Gatlin Boulevard to provide three 15-foot left-turn lanes; modifying drainage to an open system with dry ponds; installing one cantilever sign structure at the southbound I-95 off-ramp; and adding new signing and pavement markings.
Cost/Completion: $4,627,785.77. Completion is anticipated fall 2023.
Traffic Impact:
• The outside or inside ramp lane of the northbound I-95 to eastbound and westbound Gatlin Boulevard exit ramp may be closed Monday, June 26 through Friday, July 1 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for roadway work.
• Advanced Notice: The northbound I-95 to eastbound and westbound Gatlin Boulevard off-ramp will be closed nightly, Tuesday, July 5 through Thursday night, July 7, from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., weather permitting, for barrier wall installation and striping activities. If needed, this ramp closure may also occur Sunday night, July 10 through Thursday night, July 14, from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Motorists heading north on I-95 to eastbound and westbound Gatlin Boulevard should take the Becker Road exit ramp (Exit 114), then turn right onto Becker Road, turn left onto SW Port St. Lucie Boulevard to Gatlin Boulevard. For more information, please contact Community Outreach Specialist Samantha Kayser at 772-579-5479.

Lane Closures

22 May FDOT 1
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22 Apr FDOT 2

Why You Should Rent a Car for Vacation

22 Feb Car AAA

Put those miles on a rental instead of your car. Bracing yourself for miles of wear and tear on the family car while on vacation this summer? Maybe it’s time to switch things up. Here are five reasons to leave your wheels at home and rent a car for vacation this year:

Your car may deserve a little vacation, too. Prolonged driving takes a toll on our favorite mode of transportation, and maintaining a car is expensive: According to the 2021 AAA “Your Driving Costs” study, the average annual cost of owning and operating a new vehicle is $9,666, or $805.50 per month. When you rent a car for vacation, you log those hefty vacation miles on the rental, rather than your own car. One benefit: Perhaps you can put off trading in your car for another year or two.

If weaving through big-city streets is part of your epic summer adventure, the family minivan—while perfect for trips to soccer practice, school and work—might not be ideal. When you rent a car for vacation, you can get a smaller vehicle that’s still big enough for the family and luggage, yet gives you more maneuverability and better gas mileage.

If you’re taking a long sightseeing vacation, you may want more legroom or even a few extra seats so the kids can spread out. A larger rental provides the space that your vehicle doesn’t. Legroom is one of the most complicated measurements that goes into designing a vehicle, so make sure you do a “test sit” before deciding.

If you’re in the market for a car or truck, renting a vacation car can be the perfect way for the family to test a new ride. You can get input from your crew and give the vehicle a much more thorough test drive than you’d get at a car dealership. Maybe you’re considering an electric vehicle (EV) for your next purchase. Hertz has, what might be, the largest EV rental fleet in North America and can put you behind the wheel of the Tesla Model 3, a four-door sedan with a 260-mile driving range (the long-range offering of the car can go roughly 100 miles further). Ultimately, you’ll be able to see how the car fits your needs before going all-in with a purchase.

If your vacation destination is far away, you may want to save time by flying—and rent a car when you arrive. Given the true cost of driving your car long distances, this option may be more affordable than you think.

Keeping Your Rental Options Open

New cars use microchips to operate features like driver-assistance controls, window motors, navigation systems and more. Unfortunately, as you may have heard, there’s currently a global chip shortage that has disrupted auto production. Fewer cars produced means more competition for what’s available—and more chances for unwelcome surprises—even when you’re only looking for a rental. Here are tips for getting the right rental car when you need it.

Make advance arrangements. Waiting until the last minute to rent is never a good idea. Avoid frustration by securing your rental car when you plan or book your trip.

Expand your search. Don’t limit yourself to high-demand rental locations. Off-airport locations, for example, will often have better selections, and you may even be able to avoid long lines.

Know what you want. If you need a vehicle that seats five adults, an economy or compact car won’t do. And remember to account for other friends or family members who may need to ride with you once you’re at your destination.

Be flexible. High demand will probably mean higher prices than you’re used to seeing, so make sure you take advantage of any available rental discounts.

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Retirement Travelers North Dakota Travel Guide

Cascading waterfalls, roaming wildlife and a view that stretches out over 500,000 acres – this is the country’s most-visited national park. Vacationers often start in Gatlinburg and make their way to one of the park’s famous paths where they can find everything they’ve been looking for. A hike through the Great Smoky Mountains – whether it be on the Appalachian Trail itself, a wildflower walk, or a trip to one of the many waterfalls – will leave you with a smile and a lasting impression. Because the experience changes season to season, there’s always a new scene to come explore.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an American national park in the southeastern United States, with parts in Tennessee and North Carolina. The park straddles the ridgeline of the Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are a division of the larger Appalachian Mountain chain. The park contains some of the highest mountains in eastern North America, including Clingmans Dome, Mount Guyot, and Mount Le Conte. The border between the two states runs northeast to southwest through the center of the park. The Appalachian Trail passes through the center of the park on its route from Georgia to Maine. With 12.5 million visitors in 2019, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States.

As the most visited national park in the United States, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park anchors a large tourism industry based in Sevier County, Tennessee adjacent to the park. Major attractions include Dollywood, the second-most visited tourist attraction in Tennessee, Ober Gatlinburg, and Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies. Tourism to the park contributes an estimated $2.5 billion annually into the local economy. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a major tourist attraction in the region. It was the most visited national park in 2019, with over 12.5 million recreational visitors (tourists). The recreational figure represents nearly twice as many tourists as the Grand Canyon, which received nearly 6 million visitors the same year. Surrounding towns, notably Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, and Townsend, Tennessee, and Cherokee, Sylva, Maggie Valley, and Bryson City, North Carolina, receive a significant portion of their income from tourism associated with the park.

The two main visitor centers inside the park are Sugarlands Visitors' Center near the Gatlinburg entrance to the park and Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee, North Carolina, at the eastern entrance to the park. These ranger stations provide exhibits on wildlife, geology, and the history of the park. They also sell books, maps, and souvenirs.

There are 850 miles (1,370 km) of trails and unpaved roads in the park for hiking, including 70 miles (110 km) of the Appalachian Trail. Mount Le Conte is one of the most frequented destinations in the park. Its elevation is 6,593 feet (2,010 m), the third highest summit in the park and, measured from its base to its highest peak, the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi River. Alum Cave Trail is the most heavily used of the five paths en route to the summit. It provides many scenic overlooks and unique natural attractions such as Alum Cave Bluffs and Arch Rock. Hikers may spend a night at the LeConte Lodge, located near the summit, which provides cabins and rooms for rent (except during the winter season). Accessible solely by trail, it is the only private lodging available inside the park.

The park's waters have long had a reputation for healthy trout activity as well as challenging fishing terrain. Brook trout are native to the waters, while both brown and rainbow were introduced to the area. Partially due to the fact of recent droughts killing off the native fish, there are strict regulations regarding how fishing may be conducted. Horseback riding (offered by the national park and on limited trails), bicycling (available for rent in Cades Cove) and water tubing are all also practiced within the park.

From late May to early June, the Elkmont area of the park hosts the peak display period for synchronous fireflies (Photinus carolinus), one of at least 19 species of fireflies that live in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They are the only species in America whose individuals can synchronize their flashing light patterns.

Out2News Destination of the Month Fort Worth - Texas

22 Jan Fort Worth

Fort Worth is the fifth-largest city in the U.S. state of Texas and the 13th-largest city in the United States. It is the county seat of Tarrant County, covering nearly 350 square miles (910 km2) into four other counties: Denton, Parker, Wise, and Johnson. According to the 2020 U.S. census, Fort Worth's population was 927,720. Fort Worth is the second-largest city in the Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington metropolitan area, which is the fourth-most populous metropolitan area in the United States.

The city of Fort Worth was established in 1849 as an army outpost on a bluff overlooking the Trinity River. Fort Worth has historically been a center of the Texas Longhorn cattle trade. It still embraces its Western heritage and traditional architecture and design. USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) is the first ship of the United States Navy named after the city. Nearby Dallas has held a population majority since the 1950s, and Fort Worth has become one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States in recent years, particularly in the 21st century, and has more than doubled its population since 2000.

Fort Worth is the location of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and several museums designed by contemporary architects. The Kimbell Art Museum was designed by Louis Kahn, with an addition designed by Renzo Piano. The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth was designed by Tadao Ando. The Amon Carter Museum of American Art, designed by Philip Johnson, houses American art. The Sid Richardson Museum, redesigned by David M. Schwarz, has a collection of Western art in the U.S., emphasizing Frederic Remington and Charles Russell. The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History was designed by Ricardo Legorreta of Mexico.

Fort Worth is the location of several university communities: Texas Christian University, Texas Wesleyan, University of North Texas Health Science Center, and Texas A&M University School of Law. Several multinational corporations, including Bell Textron, American Airlines, BNSF Railway, and Chip 1 Exchange are headquartered in Fort Worth.

Fort Worth is located in North Texas, and has a generally humid subtropical climate. It is part of the Cross Timbers region; this region is a boundary between the more heavily forested eastern parts and the rolling hills and prairies of the central part. Specifically, the city is part of the Grand Prairie ecoregion within the Cross Timbers. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 349.2 square miles (904 km2), of which 342.2 square miles (886 km2) are land and 7.0 square miles (18 km2) are covered by water. It is a principal city in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, and the second largest.

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Pet Travel Tips

Article & Photo by: Tawnya Sessions

Traveling and vacations are fun for the whole family, even your pets.

Pet Friendly Hotels
Before you book your vacation, make sure your preferred hotel allows pets. Most pet friendly hotels state that they allow pets on their websites. If you are not sure, call the hotel before reserving your room to make sure they allow dogs and cats.

Feed Your Pet at Least Two Hours Before Traveling
Whether you are traveling by car, plane or train, lessen the likelihood of motion sickness by feeding your pet at least two hours before you plan to leave for your trip. You should also make sure your pet uses the bathroom before traveling to prevent accidents.

Use Approved Pet Carriers
If you are driving to your destination, make sure your pet is secured in a standard, hard-sided pet carrier and that the pet carrier is secured by a seat belt. If you are flying or traveling by train, purchase a pet carrier that is USDA approved.

Schedule a Wellness Examination with our Veterinarian
If you are uncertain as to whether your pet is healthy enough to fly, go ahead and schedule a checkup with your veterinarian. At the time of your examination, they can administer any extra vaccinations, like kennel cough and Lyme disease, and they can microchip your pet.

Consider Pet Boarding
Sometimes, you are not able to travel with your pet. In these instances, the safest thing you can do is to schedule pet boarding. You can bring your pet's favorite food, toys and bedding to make your pet feel more comfortable.

How to Stay Comfortable on Long Drives

20 July Travel

Article by: Consumer Reports

Long car trips can literally be a pain. But you can remain physically comfortable on long drives with these tips.

Stay alert. Drowsy driving can be fatal. Don’t push yourself to drive late into the night, when you are usually asleep. Switch drivers if you start to fade. If you’re the only driver, get a hotel room.

Pull over every 2 to 3 hours. “Sitting too long is hard on the lower back due to that constant flexed position,” says Lynn Millar, Ph.D., chair of the department of physical therapy at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina. It may compress the discs between your vertebrae, potentially leading to pain, numbness, or tingling in the legs. Your neck and hips could get tight, too. Getting out of the car and walking around a bit can help keep you comfortable on long drives.

Stretch your back. On your driving breaks, stand tall and circle your shoulders back five times. Then reach arms overhead and arch back slightly. Hold for 5 seconds, then lower arms and repeat once or twice.

Uncramp your legs. Try this calf and hip-flexor stretch: Stand with feet staggered in a lunge, left knee bent in front and right leg straight behind so that your heel touches the ground. With hands on hips (or holding on to something for balance), clench the right side of your gluteal muscles. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs and repeat.

Relax your shoulders. Keeping your chin parallel to the ground, slowly draw your head back as far as you can. You might feel a stretch along your upper spine and shoulders. Repeat six times.

Flex your feet. Trips longer than 4 hours increase your risk of deep vein thrombosis, a clot that forms, usually in the lower leg or thigh, says Mary Cushman, M.D., a spokesperson for the American Heart Association. Stopping to walk around helps. Passengers in the car should do ankle rolls and alternate flexing and pointing their feet one at a time every half hour or so.

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Driving Tips to Help You Increase Gas Mileage

20 June Driving Tips 1

Article Courtesy of AAA

Your car isn’t the only factor that directly impacts how much gasoline you use (and pay for) each year—it’s also how you drive.

Fuel is the second biggest cost of owning a car, according to AAA research. But there are ways to use less. Simply driving sensibly—avoiding rapid acceleration and braking, for example—can save you up to 40 percent on gas in stop-and-go traffic, according to fueleconomy.gov.

Here are driving tips to help you increase gas mileage—which, in return, will save you money at the pump:

Accelerate gradually
Avoid “jackrabbit” starts, but don’t accelerate too slowly.

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Pro tip: Drive like there’s an egg on the gas pedal—press evenly and gently on the accelerator to avoid breaking the egg.
Gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph. Reducing highway speeds by 5 to 10 mph can increase fuel economy by 7 to 14 percent, according to fueleconomy.gov.

Be consistent
Tests have shown that using cruise control when driving on level highway roads can save gas. That’s because maintaining a constant speed requires less accelerating and braking. Just remember to avoid using cruise control on wet or slippery roads.
Estimate how much gas your vehicle will use on a road trip with the AAA Gas Cost Calculator.

Lose unnecessary vehicle weight
Every pound of unnecessary stuff in your car reduces fuel economy, and rooftop carriers multiply the effect with additional wind resistance. If you’re not using that bike rack and don’t need that box of old books, leave them at home to increase gas mileage.

Anticipate stops
Stay aware of traffic ahead of you; when you anticipate you’ll need to stop, let your foot off the gas as early as possible (using brakes as necessary to let other motorists know your intentions). Time stoplights to maintain momentum and avoid unnecessary stop and go.

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Pro-tip: Using a prepaid pass on toll roads can help avoid stops and increase gas mileage, too.

Avoid excessive idling
Idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and whether you’re using the air conditioner, according to fueleconomy.gov. Avoid long warm-ups in the morning, and when safe to do so, shut off your engine if you’ll be stopped for more than a minute.

Combine errands into one trip
Getting more things done in one outing can help increase gas mileage. Also consider what time you’re heading out—avoiding stop-and-go rush hour traffic can save you time and money.

Bonus tip: Give your car some TLC

These don’t involve driving, but good habits in maintaining your car can help increase gas mileage. Reduce fuel economy by maintaining recommended tire pressure, keeping the air filter clean and replacing exhaust oxygen sensors before they fail.