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Speed limit lowered at Ga. 20 work zone

LAWRENCEVILLE - With construction crews working across Gwinnett County, the Department of Transportation has a consistent message for travelers: Slow down.

The Georgia DOT announced Thursday that the speed limit on Ga. Highway 20 has been lowered to 35 mph in Grayson, where construction crews are working to widen the road.

The safety precaution is also being used at the Interstate 85/Ga. Highway 316 construction zone.

While the department always recommends lower limits while the construction crew is at work, those two spots are the only one in the area where the lower limits apply 24 hours a day and seven days a week, DOT spokeswoman Teri Pope said.

"This is a preventative measure before something happens," Pope said. "There are such high traffic volumes there."

Statistics reveal that drivers are three times more likely to get hurt in a work-zone accident than a crew member, and 60 percent of accidents happen where the zones are inactive, Pope said.

"For the safety of people driving through the area and for our employees in the area, it is absolutely imperative that drivers slow down in this construction zone," she said. There will be dozens of pieces of equipment and people working in or near (Ga.) 20 at all times of the day. We must maintain a slower, consistent pace of traffic."

New speed limit signs with flags attached and speed reduction warning signs have been erected to warn motorists of the change from Cooper/Ozora Road to Plantation Boulevard.

According to Georgia law, traffic fines are doubled in a work zone for each offense - up to $2,000 per offense.

"It will benefit your pocket and your safety for you to slow down and pay extra attention through this work zone and all other work zones in Georgia," Pope said.

Grayson Mayor Jim Hinkle said he thought the idea was a good one.

"I certainly understand reducing it because of the construction," he said.

Because of the infamous traffic, he added with a laugh, "You're not going to be able to go faster than that during the daytime anyway."

Construction on the $26.8 million project is expected to be complete by the end of August 2008.