Special to the Journal
Atlanta – The winter storm that devastated traffic in Metropolitan Atlanta Tuesday and presented dangerous driving conditions across nearly two-thirds of Georgia has moved into the Carolinas and the Atlantic Ocean. But it wreaked havoc on Metropolitan Atlanta traffic; an impact that continues to be felt this morning. Clean-up efforts continue on Metro Atlanta freeways and other roads in north and central Georgia and significant progress is being made. Atlanta was hardest hit; the storm caused employers and schools to release workers and students at the same time Tuesday afternoon, resulting in gridlock on Metro roadways. That traffic hampered Georgia DOT crews from treating the roads and clearing incidents; in turn causing delays that drug well into the night. The Department brought additional crews from other less-impacted areas of the state to Metro and activated private contractors to help catch up. While sporadic temporary closures and isolated icy areas remain this morning, Department officials have nearly 50 work crews focused on Metro roadways and are hopeful Wednesday will bring a full recovery.
Officials have prioritized DOT’s principal goals today:
- Get any remaining stranded motorists and students home as quickly as possible this morning;
- Compel tractor trailers not to drive in Metro and north Georgia unless utilizing chains;
- Move stranded trucks and passenger vehicles from the roadway to shoulders or medians, per Georgia law (A.C.C.G. 32-6-2);
- Treat outside shoulders of Interstates, as well as entrance and exit ramps; and
- Continue to treat and reopen those corridors that become unpassable due to black ice accumulations.
“This has been an ordeal for everyone,” DOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale warned. “This storm and the bitter temperatures have caused so much difficulty, discomfort and anxiety for so many Georgians. We believe roadways will be restored to some level of normalcy today but would encourage the public to remain home, preferably all day. For your own safety, you should refrain from any driving unless you absolutely must.”
· Numerous roads throughout the state have at times been temporarily unpassable, including Interstate Highway 75/85 (The Atlanta Downtown Connector) southbound at I-20, at University Avenue and at Fulton Street, Interstate Highway 20 westbound at the Connector, Interstate Highway 85 southbound in Gwinnett County at Hamilton Mill Road, numerous Interstate 75 entrance and exit ramps in Cobb County, north and southbound I-75 in Bartow County at State Route 20, Interstate Highway 575 northbound in Cherokee County at Cumming Highway, Interstate Highway 985 southbound in Hall County at State Route 129, Interstate 75 NB beginning in Monroe County at mile marker 181, Interstate 75 SB between mile markers 199 and 201 in Butts and Lamar Counties, SR 155 at SR 42 in Henry County, Interstate 75 NB near Rumble Road in Monroe County, Interstate Highway 20 westbound in Richmond County, State Route 16 at the Spalding/Coweta counties line, US 78/State Route 10 in Gwinnett County, State Route 141 north and southbound in Gwinnett, State Route 9 north and southbound in Forsyth County, State Route 164 east and westbound in Banks County, State Route 120 eastbound in Haralson County, State Route 61 in Carroll County, State Route 36 near Nelson Drive in Upson County, State Route 49 at State Route 42 in Peach County, State Route 156 east and west bound in Gordon County, portions of State Routes 14, 38 and 92 in Fulton County.
· Very hazardous conditions also are reported in Gwinnett County at US 78/SR 10 West Park Place into Hugh Howell in DeKalb County and I-85 Collector Distributor ramps, Pleasant Hill Road (Exit 105) to Old Peachtree Road (Exit 109).
· Crews are working at all locations but black ice accumulations often result in a corridor having to be temporarily closed multiple times.
The only roads officially closed for the duration at this time are the customary winter weather closings of State Route 180 Spur in Towns County and a portion of State Route 348 in White County.
If motorists must travel, please be patient with conditions and with one another and be extremely cautious. Slow down considerably; allow extra distance between yourself and other vehicles, maintain a steady speed; avoid lane changing and sudden acceleration or braking; and never pass a Georgia DOT, contractor or local government truck treating the road.
Also, motorists should be especially mindful if travelling on any of the numerous following roads, all of which had icing conditions reported at some point during past hours. Each has been treated but ice, especially black ice, may easily re-develop…
In Metro Atlanta:
· Interstate Highway 285 interchanges at several locations in Cobb, Fulton and DeKalb counties including the Kennedy and Moreland Interchanges;
· Interstate Highway 285 “top end” and at Cascade and Campbleton roads;
· Interstate Highway 20 at MLK Drive in Fulton County;
· Langford Parkway/State Route 166 in Fulton;
· State Route 13 in DeKalb;
· State Route 3 in Fulton;
· State Route 41 in Cobb County; and
· Interstate Highways 85 and 20 in Douglas County.
In central and west central Georgia:
· Interstate Highway 75 in Bibb, Peach and Butts counties;
· Interstate Highway 85 and I-185 in Troup, Muscogee and Harris counties;
· Interstate Highway 85 and State Routes 154, 16 and 34 in Coweta County;
· Interstate Highway 75 and State Routes 3, 19/41, 20, 74, 138, 155, 920 and 42 in Henry County;
· Interstate Highway 75 and State Routes 16, 3,362 and 92 in Spalding County;
· State Routes 92, 279 and 85 in Fayette County;
· State Route 1 in Stewart County;
· State Route 137 in Taylor County;
· State Routes 116,354 and 190 in Harris;
· State Routes 27 and 190 in Meriwether County;
· State Routes 100 and 120 in Haralson County; and
· State Routes 1, 22 and 219 in Troup.
· Interstate Highway 75 in Bartow County;
· Interstate Highways 24 and 59 in Dade;
· Interstate Highway 575 State Route 140 in Cherokee County;
· State Routes 156 and 53 in Gordon County;
· State Route 92 in Paulding County;
· U.S. 411 and State Routes 1 and 101 in Floyd County;
· State Route1 in Chattooga County;
· State Routes 52, 71 and 3 in Whitfield County;
· State Routes 136, 157, 58, 299 and 301 in Dade;
· State Routes 113, 6 and US 278 in Polk County;
· State Routes 3, 20, and 113 and US 41 in Bartow; and
· State Routes 1 and 157 in Walker County.
East central Georgia:
· Interstate Highway 20 from Rockdale County to Taliaferro County;
· Interstate Highway 16 in Bleckley County;
· All I-20 elevated structures;
· The I-20/State Route 22 interchange in Taliaferro;
· State Routes 212, 81, 142, 278 and 20 in Newton County;
· State Routes 12, 44, 15 and 77 in Greene County;
· State Route 16 in Jasper County;
· State Route 231 bridges in Washington County;
· All bridges in Columbia, Baldwin and Putnam counties;
· State Routes 11, 12 and 83 in Morgan County; and
· State Routes 10 and 22 in Oglethorpe County.
· Interstate Highway 985 and Stare Route 365 in Hall County;
· State Route 400 ramps to State Route 141 in Forsyth County;
· State Routes 9 and 20 in Forsyth;
· State Routes 140 and 141 in Gwinnett County;
· State Routes 53, 183 and 136 in Dawson County;
· State Routes 9 and 60 in Lumpkin County;
· State Routes 15, 17 and 105 in Habersham County;
· State Routes 11, 75, 115 and 356 in White County; and
· State Route 2 in Rabun, Union and Towns counties.
· State Route 27 in Quitman County;
· State Route 118 in Lee County;
· State Routes 133 and 91 in Dougherty County;
· State Route 257, 300, 33 and 30 in Crisp County; and
· State Route 11 in Wilcox County.
· US 341/SR 73 and State Route 24 bridges in Bulloch County.
The Department is issuing periodic media advisories. In addition, representatives will be available at the locations and via the phone numbers listed below throughout the weather event:
The Special Operations Center (SOC): Located at the Transportation Management Center (TMC) will activate at Noon, Tuesday. Media should call Karlene Barron or Natalie Dale at 404.635.2490 and 2491 for updates.
(Note – This is the Department’s statewide command center and the clearinghouse for real-time conditions; it is your best source for current status of roadways.)
District One (Northeast Georgia) Gainesville Headquarters: Contact Teri Pope at 404.274.6436.
District Two (East Central Georgia) Tennille Headquarters: Contact Cissy McNure at 478.232.3331
District Three (West Central Georgia) Thomaston Headquarters: Contact Kimberly Larson at 706.741.3439.
District Four (South and Southwest Georgia) Tifton Headquarters: Contact Nita Birmingham 229.326.5435.
District Five (Southeast and Coastal Georgia) Savannah Area Office: Contact Jill Nagel at 912.424.6643.
District Six (Northwest Georgia) Cartersville Headquarters: Contact Mohamed Arafa at 770.359.9523.