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511 system set to help ease summer traffic

LAWRENCEVILLE - High gas prices won't be the only obstacle in the way of vacations this summer. Drivers will also have to dodge construction barrels as they head to the beach, the mountains or grandmother's house.

But the Georgia Department of Transportation has an improved system for drivers to plan their routes.

Georgia 511, a free phone and Internet service, is fully functional this summer - the busy road construction season - to give drivers up-to-date information on road closures and construction plans.

"The best way to avoid delays is to stay informed and plan ahead," Georgia DOT Commissioner Gena Abraham said. "This is the first full summer our 511 system will be operational and it is an excellent tool for motorists traveling through and to Georgia. All welcome centers have state maps and immediate access to construction closures and major accidents to help staff assist travelers in reaching their destinations safely and with as little delay as possible."

During the summer's biggest holiday weekends - Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day - interstate work will be suspended, the DOT announced.

But major projects are planned on Interstates 85 and 985 in Gwinnett, where crews will install cable-barriers in the median, in addition to the ongoing projects to reconstruct the I-85 and Ga. Highway 316 interchange and the widenings of Ga. Highway 20 and Ga. Highway 120.

Major projects statewide include the summerlong project to repave the downtown connector, the Interstate 20/Interstate 520 reconstruction project in Augusta, the Interstate 75/Interstate 475 reconstruction in Macon, I-75 reconstruction in south Georgia and Interstate 95 widening near Brunswick.

For updated information, call 511 or go to www.511ga.org.