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Weather delays paving on 85/316 project

DULUTH - Blame Mother Nature for the delay that caused the final paving work on the Interstate 85/Ga. Highway 316 interchange project to be put off until Sunday night.

According to Russell McMurry, a Georgia Department of Transportation spokesman, crews don't work in the rain unless it's an emergency.

"Safety of drivers coming through the work zone and our workers is always our primary focus," McMurry said in a statement. "We apologize for the inconvenience of the daytime closures Monday, but it is necessary as the coming cold weather will stop the asphalt from hardening correctly, and this in turn affects the strength and long term durability of the pavement."

The department said the work, which was scheduled to begin Thursday night, will now commence at 9 p.m. Sunday and wrap up Monday by 3 p.m., weather permitting. The work will include various closures, from one to three northbound lanes along Interstate 85 from Pleasant Hill Road to Ga. Highway 317/Lawrenceville Suwanee Road. Because some of the work was scheduled for overnight, drivers are encouraged to be aware and slow down in the work zone.

The $147 million project is still scheduled to be fully opened to traffic more than two months ahead of its scheduled completion date.