As a result of up to two inches of snow in central and north Georgia, the Georgia Department of Transportation continues to treat and plow interstates and state routes across the state. Georgia DOT crews worked continuously throughout the night to treat roads and clear the snow as it fell. However, even with those efforts, there are multiple icy spots on interstates and state routes. With temperatures below freezing throughout today and tomorrow in much of the state, motorists are encouraged to stay off the roads as conditions are dangerous. A layer of ice is under the snow in many areas, causing extremely hazardous driving conditions. Crashes have resulted in blocked roads in multiple locations, particularly in north Georgia.
“There are multiple crashes that are blocking interstates and state routes across the state which are severely impeding our efforts to clear roadways,” said Georgia DOT State Operations Engineer John Hibbard. “Ice is among the most difficult winter weather condition to deal with, but our crews continue to use all resources and materials available to treat trouble spots where possible. However, motorists should not expect to return to normal driving conditions today. The safe decision is to heed warnings and stay off the roads.”
The Department will continue to deploy crews working twelve hour shifts across the state to clear as much of the snow off the ground as possible and to treat the roadway with calcium chloride and gravel to help break up the ice. Temperatures will remain well below freezing today, which can limit the effectiveness of the material.
As a result of icy conditions, the I-75 Express Lanes south of metro Atlanta are closed and will remain closed until further notice. Also as of this morning, I-85 SB north of metro Atlanta remains closed due to a multi-vehicle crash.
Gov. Nathan Deal has issued a state of emergency due to winter weather for 83 counties, spanning much of central and north Georgia. This line extends from Columbus to Macon to Augusta and northward. State government is closed today in the impacted areas for non-essential personnel.
If you must travel, use extreme caution and maintain a speed which is safe for conditions. Please be aware of Georgia DOT trucks and equipment in your area. Pay attention to crews spreading materials, give them plenty of room and stay back a safe distance.
Georgia DOT has increased its capabilities, equipment and materials to address these events statewide.
• 1,938 employees on call covering 39,919 lane miles
• 54,030 tons of salt
• 65,460 tons of gravel
• 426 snow removal equipment units (one plow + hopper + truck = one equipment unit)
• Capacity to store 550,000 gallons of brine
• Can produce 20,000 gallons of brine per hour
• Georgia DOT may relocate district resources from other portions of the state to the most needed areas during an event
During hazardous winter weather conditions, Georgia DOT advises motorists to:
• Call 5-1-1 to report icy conditions on interstates, state routes, overpasses and bridges;
• If possible, postpone travel until daylight hours when road conditions such as black ice are more visible;
• Pay attention to Georgia DOT trucks spreading materials and stay back a safe distance;
• Do not pass a Georgia DOT dump truck spreading the salt/gravel mixture, as gravel may kick up and could break car windshields — follow at least 100 feet behind Department vehicles;
• Be aware of Georgia DOT and other emergency crews working to clear snow, ice, debris and potential downed trees or power lines from interstates and state routes;
• SLOW DOWN at least half your normal speed and use a low gear as you drive;
• Treat a non-working traffic signal as a four-way stop; and
• Beware of icy patches (especially on bridges) and watch for fallen trees or power lines
Before getting on the road during winter weather Georgia DOT urges motorists to call 511 for updated information on roadway conditions. Georgia 511 is a free phone service that provides real-time traffic and travel information statewide, including closures and reports of icing or other hazardous conditions on interstates and state routes. Callers can transfer to operators to request complimentary vehicle assistance on interstate highways across Georgia from the Highway Emergency Response Operators (HERO) and the Coordinated Highway Assistance & Maintenance (CHAMP) programs – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 511 for vehicle assistance or to report an issue. Visit www.511ga.org.