Roadwork to cause delays

LAWRENCEVILLE - This Labor Day weekend won't be a holiday for road construction.

The Georgia Department of Transportation usually calls a halt to any big lane closures on holiday weekends, but this time, a huge construction project has been scheduled, despite the expected traffic to get to the beach or the mountains for an end-of-summer trip.

According to DOT spokeswoman Crystal Paulk-Buchanan, the work this three-day weekend is actually expected to cause the least impact to drivers than spreading out the work over the next six weekends. While less drivers are typically out on Labor Day weekend than a regular traffic weekend.

But Paulk-Buchanan is still predicting a bottleneck with delays of up to two hours. She is encouraging drivers to take Interstate 285 to avoid the mess or use other options such as MARTA.

"The biggest message is to plan ahead," she said. "There are numerous other ways to get around."

During the 72-hour weekend, Interstate 85 will be down from five lanes to two and Interstate 75 will be down to one lane just before the Brookwood split if weather permits. As part of the $88.5 million reconstruction project at 14th Street, crews will work on the connector southbound to make safety and sight distance improvements as well as shift lanes to make way for a new 10th Street exit ramp.

In addition to holiday travel, officials are anticipating 70,000 people will attend the Alabama vs. Clemson football game at the Georgia Dome on Saturday and another 60,000 attendees at the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Marching Band Hall of Fame at the Dome on Monday.

Paulk-Buchanan said 22 police officers will be at key intersections to help with the traffic flow, and extra HERO units will be available, while message boards will alert drivers to the traffic situation. Drivers can also call 511 for updated information.