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Drivers urged to stay off roadways until mid-day Thursday

A Georgia Department of Transportation truck attempts to clear an icy SR-20/ Buford Drive in Buford on Wednesday. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

A Georgia Department of Transportation truck attempts to clear an icy SR-20/ Buford Drive in Buford on Wednesday. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

Ronald Reagan Parkway closed about 6 a.m. Wednesday, and remains closed, as Gwinnett roads quickly deteriorated in a winter ice event that officials expect to be historic.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is now urging the public to avoid all but emergency travel until at least mid-day Thursday as periodic bands of snow, sleet and freezing rain will continue to cause extremely dangerous driving conditions throughout most of North and Middle Georgia throughout today and tonight.

“Please, this is a very serious situation,” Georgia DOT Communications Director Karlene Barron said. “The Department is utilizing all of its assets and available personnel to treat roadways but temperatures will remain below freezing throughout the day and travelling is still treacherous. It will be even more so after dark this evening when it is colder still and the risk of black ice forming is even greater.”

DOT officials have reported icing on the Ga. Highway 20 bridge over the Chattahoochee River and in Barrow County on Ga. Highway 11, both at Ga. Highway 211 and from the post office to the Walton County line. The Ga. Highway 324 bridge over the railroad in Auburn is also being reported as hazardous.

The city of Lilburn is asking drivers to exercise extreme caution on Indian Trail Road between Burns Road and Ga. Highway 29, as well as Hillcrest Road between Ga. Highway 29 and Indian Trail Road.

There were no power outages or fallen trees about 12:30 p.m. City maintenance personnel did assist with a tree down on Francis Place and Hale Drive in the county. The tree was removed and the roadway is open.

Lilburn residents can report problems on city streets using the city's website reporting tool, Citizen Request Tracker. Residents should report power outages to their electricity provider.

Lilburn officials said they would post updates every two hours on its Twitter and Facebook pages.

The city of Norcross has closed Holcomb Bridge from South Peachtree to Buford Highway; West Peachtree Drive from Lake Drive to Autry Street; Thrasher Street between Gaines and Autry; as well as the tracks at Holcomb Bridge.

The Georgia DOT has asked that drivers not pass GDOT trucks spreading materials along the roadway.

“Our crews are working diligently in every county focusing on interstates and four lane state routes. This allows us to keep major roads open that benefit the most emergency traffic,” said Bayne Smith, Georgia DOT district engineer. “We just can’t work every route when conditions are this perilous. Our priorities have to be primary routes, the interstates and four or five lane state routes. Please do not multiply the hazards by driving unless it is an emergency situation.”

For information on road conditions, call 511.

Staff writer Deanna Allen contributed to this report.