GAINESVILLE – With summer underway, the Georgia Department of Transportation is advising motorists they should plan ahead to avoid overheated radiators (and tempers) – especially those who anticipate travelling weekends on Interstate 285 on the west side of Metropolitan Atlanta or the 70+-mile stretch of Interstate 20 between Carroll and Newton counties.
First, a holiday travelers’ reprieve – no construction-related lane closures on interstates between Noon, this Thursday, July 3, and 5 a.m., next Monday, July 7.
Then some back-ups likely begin…
Northeast Georgia has 29 active construction projects that require lane closures impacting travel. Projects in Gwinnett, Forsyth and Hall will slow access to Lake Lanier this summer. The biggest impact to accessing Lake Lanier is State Route 284/Clark’s Bridge Road bridge replacement project at the Lake Lanier Olympic Venue in Gainesville. Currently, a detour is in place allowing access to the boat ramps, beach and parking from SR 284 northbound. Traffic traveling SR 284 south from Clermont cannot access the recreation facilities or parking because a pedestrian tunnel is under construction. The detour is scheduled to open July 26, 2014. (Detailed information on the detour and Northeast Georgia Construction projects is attached.)
Metro Atlanta has a major reconstruction of WestSide I-285 and several projects on I-20 will require multiple lane closures throughout weekends and some single-lane weekday and weeknight closures as well. Significant delays, especially on weekends, are virtually inevitable.
“Quite honestly, it won’t be pleasant,” Georgia DOT State Construction Engineer Marc Mastronardi concedes, “especially on the WestSide where I-285 and I-20 share so much long-haul truck traffic. We really implore everyone – Atlantans, out-of-state truckers and motorists simply passing through – to plan ahead by utilizing our free-call 511 phone system and the 511 website: www.511ga.org. You’ll get real-time road conditions and your forethought and planning likely will save you hours.”
On I-285, contractors are replacing and repairing deteriorated concrete slabs in both directions on more than 17 miles, roughly between Paces Ferry Road and Camp Creek Parkway. Work began last weekend and will continue all of this year and well into 2015. Throughout, continuous multiple-lane closures on weekends are likely. (As this is concrete work, the Department also advises that there will be times when lanes are closed but no workers are present; this is necessary so that the new concrete can “cure,” a process wherein it hardens into a driving surface that will last for many years.)
In a separate WestSide Perimeter project, the I-285 interchange with Atlanta Road is being rebuilt. That work is scheduled to continue for three years with periodic localized lane closures on both the Interstate and busy Atlanta Road.
Add to that ongoing multiple lane closures, both eastbound and westbound, on weekends throughout much of the rest of this year for an I-20 resurfacing project between Douglasville and Villa Rica.
Compounding the impact on WestSide traffic later this summer will be much-needed replacement of failing bridge joints (and the “headers” that connect the joints to the bridge surface) in both directions on each of the 16 I-20 bridges/overpasses between the Downtown Connector and the Chattahoochee River. Beginning perhaps as soon as August and continuing through next spring; it likely will require double-
lane closures throughout weekends and single-lane closures on weeknights in the vicinity of each structure as it is repaired.
WestSide I-285 carries some 165,000 vehicles every day; I-20 on the WestSide 150,000 inside and 105,000 outside the Perimeter. Thousands of those vehicles are tractor trailers.
Travel on EastSide I-20 will be no picnic this summer, either. Resurfacing between Conyers and Covington – the corridor’s first resurfacing in 26 years – will require periodic multiple lane closures on weekends for much of the remainder of the year and I-20 bridge reconstruction at the Alcovy River further east in Newton County will require weekday closures this summer of one of two travel lanes in either direction. Within the Perimeter in Fulton and DeKalb counties, I-20 restriping efforts will continue through mid-summer requiring multiple lane closures in both directions on weekend nights, although work will be timed so as not to affect Atlanta Braves game traffic.
“I can’t over-emphasize the importance of planning ahead and looking for alternative routes when planning weekend travel this summer, especially on the WestSide,” Mastronardi says. “We realize summer weekends may seem to some like a bad time for us to undertake this work. But we have to take advantage of the warm summer days and nights and weekday traffic is much, much heavier.
“We apologize for the inconveniences but these preventative activities we undertake in summer months will save taxpayers millions of dollars over the long term in avoided major reconstruction costs.”
Interstate Highway System travelers can get construction and traffic information at the State’s Welcome Centers which offer both free maps and access to real-time information on construction or accident-related delays and lane closures.
As always, motorists are urged to obey speed limits in general and in particular in work zones; avoid distractions; not make unnecessary lane changes; allow extra distance between themselves and the vehicle ahead in work zones; never drive while impaired; and always exercise caution.
The following are some of the Department’s other potentially “motorist impactful” construction jobs underway or beginning this summer, as well as the relevant Georgia DOT media contacts:
Northeast Georgia: (additional information on these projects is attached)
- Intersection improvements at State Route 316 with both SR 20 & Collins Hill Road in Gwinnett County;
- Widening of SR 347 from McEver Road in Buford to State Route 211 in Braselton both east and west bound in Hall County (2 projects);
- State Route 20 widening projects in Gwinnett and Forsyth counties; and
- Construction of a pedestrian tunnel on State Route 284/Clarks Bridge Road in Hall County (a detour of this route will be in place until July 26).
- (NOTE: The SR 347 widening and the SR 284 tunnel projects will impact traffic to and from Lake Lanier Islands.)
(District Communications Officer [DCO] Teri Pope – 770.718. 3924)
- Roadway improvements and (City of Atlanta) water and sewer line replacement on Northside Drive between Interstate 75 and Collier Road (beginning in July);
- Construction of the new “Skip Spann Connector” overpass above I-75 in northwest Cobb County; and
- Reconstruction of the Georgia 400 interchange at Northridge Road in Fulton.
- Ongoing demolition of remaining Georgia 400 toll plaza structures and subsequent shifting of traffic into permanent lane configuration.
- Replacement of Spring Street Viaduct in downtown Atlanta; to begin in September.
(Dept. Spokesperson Natalie Dale – 404.631.1814)
- Reconstruction of I-75 interchanges at State Route 156/Redbud Road and at Union Grove Road in Gordon County and also at U.S. Highway 41 in Whitfield County;
- Widening State Route 136 in Gordon;
- Widening State Route 20 in Bartow County; and
- Bridge rehabilitation on U.S. Highway 411 in Murray County (through July).
(DCO Mohamed Arafa – 770.387.4081)
East Central Georgia:
- Resurfacing Interstate 16 in Laurens and Treutlen counties;
- I-20 bridge reconstruction in Newton County;
- Widening Interstate 520 in Richmond County;
- Widenings of Windsor Springs Road, Wrightsboro Road and State Route 56 in Richmond;
- Widenings of State Route 232/Columbia Road and Old Petersburg Road/Old Evans Road in Columbia County;
- Bridge replacements on State Route 47 and State Route 232 in Columbia; and
- Fall Line Freeway construction in Washington and Baldwin counties.
(DCO Cissy McNure – 478.552.4656)
West Central Georgia:
- I-75 restriping activities in Bibb, Crawford and Peach;
- I-75 interchange reconstruction at Jodeco Road in Henry County;
- Interstate 16 interchange reconstruction at State Route 96 in Jones County;
- Pipeline work near Interstate 85 in Coweta County (through August); and
- Intersection improvements at State Route 155 and Kellytown Road in Henry.
(DCO Kimberly Larson – 706.646.7532)
South & Southwest Georgia:
- US Highway 84/State Route 38/West Hill Avenue railroad overpass construction in Valdosta/Lowndes County;
- Reconfiguration of State Route 3/Liberty Expressway interchange with North Jefferson Street in Dougherty County;
- Widening of U.S. Highway 319/State Route 35 in Colquitt and Tift counties;
- Widening of Carpenter Road in Tift;
- Resurfacing U.S. Highway 41/State Route 7 in Tift;
- I-75 at Brighton Road interchange reconstruction in Tift; and
- Drainage improvements on State Route 39 in Seminole County.
(DCO Nita Birmingham – 229.391.5463)
- Interstate 95 and State Route 99 interchange reconstruction in Glynn County;
- Interchange construction at State Route 204/Abercorn Street and King George Boulevard in Chatham County; and
- Resurfacing U.S. Highway 84/State Route 38 in Pierce County.
(DCO Jill Nagel – 912.427. 5743)