Georgia DOT asks drivers to stay off the roads another day

Any empty Interstate 85 is pictured on Wednesday morning. (Photo: John Spruill)

Any empty Interstate 85 is pictured on Wednesday morning. (Photo: John Spruill)

With snow continuing to fall Thursday morning, officials asked people to remain at home for another day to allow the treatment of roads in Georgia.

“Snow and ice continued to fall overnight and into this morning,” Georgia DOT Communications Director Karlene Barron said, “and all along the Interstate Highway 20 corridor from roughly Madison to Augusta, numerous limbs and trees have fallen across roads and power lines. Dozens of crews are working to clear the debris in this area but the public absolutely needs to stay home if at all possible until the roads are cleared, plowed and treated for ice.”

With Ronald Reagan Parkway remaining closed in Gwinnett, officials warned of ice along Ga. Highway 120 and black ice in various spots on the roadways.

“Our crews are working diligently in every county to remove snow, ice and slush from the roadways and provide a safe travel on interstates and state routes,” said Georgia DOT district engineer Bayne Smith. “This allows us to keep major roads open that benefit the most emergency traffic. We can’t cover all 5,600 lane miles of interstates and state routes at the same time. Please do not multiply the hazards by driving unless it is an emergency situation. We need you to stay off the roads until mid-afternoon today.”

The final wave of winter precipitation is expected to leave Georgia by noon, but officials say it could take longer for the roads to clear, even after temperatures rise above freezing this afternoon. With the moisture expected to refreeze overnight, officials are asking people to stay off the roads until mid-day Friday, when the temperatures may reach into the 50s.

Officials said most interstates and major highways have remained passable throughout the three-day storm, and crews will continue to plow and treat the roadways. The DOT has been able to acquire more salt and supplies from other states to continue the effort, the press release noted.

“We are so appreciative of the patience and cooperation Georgians have shown by staying off the roadways and allowing our wonderful, tireless and hard-working men and women to do their jobs,” Barron said. “If people can just bear with us one more day, we think some level of normalcy on most roadways will be possible by Friday afternoon.”