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DOT warns of heavy holiday traffic near Gwinnett malls

Officials are expecting Grinch-worthy traffic during the holiday week next week.

Congestion, especially near malls and retail centers, is exptected to be heavy beginning noon Friday, as people complete their Christmas shopping and visit family and friends.

“Mall and retail center traffic will be particularly congested,” Georgia DOT district engineer Bayne Smith said. “Planning your trip before you get on the road could help make your trip nice instead of naughty. Additionally, many travelers will be on our roadways over the weekend prior to Christmas and the following week.”

Among the trouble spots anticipated are Interstate 85 and 985 near Gwinnett County malls, especially the Mall of Georgia and Sugarloaf Mills, a press release said. Traffic is also expected to be heavy on I-985 at Ga. 347 for the Lake Lanier Islands Magical Nights of Lights crowds.

The DOT has suspended construction-related lane closures on interstates and major state routes from 5 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 2, but incident management or emergency lane closures could be in place.

Travelers can check road conditions by calling 511 or visiting www.511ga.org. Georgia 511 also connects callers to the Atlanta and Savannah airports for information on parking and delays.