As hoards of motorists take to the roads, area police will keep an eye out

As more than half a million South Carolinians prepare to take to the road, local and state law enforcementhave plans to keep area roads and waterways safe during the holiday weekend.

More than 500,00 South Carolinians are expectedto travel 50 miles or more over the Labor Day holiday weekend, which, according to AAA Carolinas, is down 15 percent from last year.

For the S.C. Highway Patrol, the holiday means stepped-up enforcement on the state's highways.

"The Highway Patrol will be out in full force this weekend," said Lance Cpl. Bob Beres, highway patrol spokesman. "We want you to have fun this weekend. It's the last big hoorah for the summer, but we want you to do it responsibly."

Beres said troopers will set uptraffic safety checkpoints and dispatch its DUI enforcement team, a specialty unit comprising 30 troopers statewide and four officers in Troop 6, which includes Beaufort County.

Many Beaufort County law enforcement agencies say they don't have any special enforcement plans for Labor Day.

"Normal patrol and traffic units will be on duty," said Beaufort Police Chief Matt Clancy.

"It will be business as usual," said Beaufort County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Robin McIntosh.

The Port Royal Police Department said its specially assigned DUI enforcement officer will be out all weekend, according to department spokesman Capt. Alan Beach.

On the water, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources law enforcement officers will patrolarea waterways during a weekend that typically signifies the end of boating season, said Lt. Gentry Thames, DNR spokesman.

"It's typically a fairly busy weekend for us," Thames said. "It's usually the end of summer and the last bit of the boating season for most of the waterways in Beaufort County."

DNR officers will offer courtesy boat inspections from 9 a.m. until noon today at the Pickney Island boat ramp on Hilton Head Island and during the same hours Sunday at the Lemon Island boat ramp.

Thames added that DNR officers will have their hands full with the Labor Day holiday weekend and the opening of dove season falling on the same weekend. Deer season also is in full swing.

"They'll have a lot of responsibilities this weekend," Thames said.