‘Drive with Aloha’ in the cold weather for holiday travels

So taking vehicles in for their regular oil changes and checkups is the number one

So taking vehicles in for their regular oil changes and checkups is the number one way to check hoses and other components. Guyton said some mechanics cut corners and add too much water to windshield cleaner reservoirs, which then can freeze and cause expensive damage. So Guyton recommended making sure that mechanics are adding enough wiper fluid and are checking wiper blades for any damage.

In the same vein, Guyton also said to make sure all fluids are correctly mixed and topped off during routine maintenance. If, say, the coolant does not have enough antifreeze mixed-in, then the coolant can freeze. This can lead to cracks in the engine block and eventually the vehicle stalling. He said that paying for a flush of a vehicle’s different systems is the best way to battle that.

For those that can park outside and potentially get icy windows, Guyton recommended pulling back wiper blades from the windshield and not using wipers to clear ice. He said people should instead use the defroster to melt the ice and then the wipers to clear the melted water. Another solution is also to keep an ice scraper in the car – even in the South.

Guyton had a laundry list of items that cold weather can harm. Batteries lose power and need checking. Putting heaters and defrosters on full blast can accelerate the slow deaths of batteries and alternators and those surprise breakdowns put big wrenches in plans. Guyton also advises to check tire pressures during a cold snap (on the spare, also) and then keep checking them once per week, as cold weather decreases the psi.

Then there are the items that Guyton said motorists should always have, especially in cold weather. Keep a set of jumper cables, in case of battery issues. Lithium-ion battery starters, which can jumpstart a battery without another car, are even better. Those can run for under $100 and can keep a long charge.

And 2014′s Snowmageddon disaster should not be a distant memory at all, as thousands found themselves stranded on Metro Atlanta’s icy roads, absolutely gridlocked. Then-Gridlock Guy, Mark Arum compiled a thorough and brilliant list of emergency items to keep in the car, including a full change of clothes, prescription meds, garbage bags and a sealable waste container (for…you know), and other hygiene items. Guyton offers the basics, too, “Maybe some water, and some snacks, an emergency blanket,” also adding one of the most important items: a phone charger.

And we need our cars to keep warm, if we get stuck on icy roads. “Always keep at least a half-tank full of gas in your car, so that you can idle for a while, if you need to,” Guyton said. This, of course, buys time until the roads clear or assistance arrives. Making sure you know what kind of roadside assistance your insurance or manufacturers have is also a great tool of preparation. I have paid for AAA since 2007 and they have bailed me out many times.

A vehicle with perfect maintenance is still at the mercy of its pilot. The Georgia State Patrol said Thanksgiving travel weekend crashes killed 24 statewide. If we don’t choose to drive sober, with less distractions, with lower aggression, and higher awareness of others, then car maintenance and emergency prep don’t matter.

“Share the Shaka” is a way Hawaiians say hello. They extend the thumb and pinky, with the other three fingers down give a slight, y-shaped wiggle. That’s “aloha” and we hopefully can agree that sharing two digits is better than one. Car maintenance and smart driving are keys to an efficient, safe, and peaceful holiday travel season. Whether in the tropics or the tundra, Drive with Aloha and Share the Shaka.

Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on 95.5 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also hosts a traffic podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at [email protected] .

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Necessary closures in which human errors worsen the impacts are even worse. When Vice President Mike Pence made a swing to Georgia on Friday, November 20th, his goal was to campaign for Georgia Republicans in a runoff to keep the U.S. Senate red. But an unforced mistake elongated Friday PM drive interstate closures and caused many Georgia drivers to see red. The lack of accountability and empathy that any organization involved in this boondoggle has shown is both disgraceful and par for the course.","_id":"5RU663CTLFGGZES7QVPQO6MINE","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1606746732191,"content":"Smilin’ Mark McKay [twitter.com] covered the event with Mike Shields [twitter.com] and Alex Williams [twitter.com] for WSB Triple Team Traffic [wsbradio.com]. With Shields and Williams stationed in the WSB Traffic Center, McKay actually was able to fly in the WSB Skycopter this fateful day, since the flight restriction for the VPOTUS is only a few miles. The POTUS embargo is about ten times larger.","_id":"W7CMJVNNB5DKZMCWUQF725UWZU","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1606746732192,"content":"McKay asked the pilot to navigate to where they could follow behind and see freeways begin opening. This is when McKay and the team noticed something smelling rotten in the state of Denmark - er - DeKalb.","_id":"2FM6P77QONCSLJC3KYWJ3QPX3Q","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1606746732193,"content":"“We’re going up I-85 in the PDK airspace, getting closer to Spaghetti Junction and we hold short and this is when everything starts to happen now,” McKay said on the most recent WSB Traffic Podcast. [wsbradio.com] The Georgia State Patrol, Cobb County PD, and the U.S. Secret Service had already begun closures, anticipating Pence’s motorcade’s last leg to Dobbins AFB. “We had already confirmed that they had shut down I-75 and I-285. The problem was - the motorcade wasn’t out of Spaghetti Junction yet.”","_id":"XROIZ6NDKVGHFMTNQSKHLV42ZA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1606746732194,"content":"That by itself isn’t odd. Officers servicing these kinds of closures often block large stretches of the trek ahead of time, so they are able to flush out the traffic.But a mistake in the motorcade’s navigation made the cost of preparation far more difficult for motorists to bear.","_id":"JZ5NEOEXMRACRLUTVC2RFPSB5I","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1606746732195,"content":"McKay and the team and, as things turn out, the agencies in the motorcade, expected the caravan to take the I-85/southbound ramp to I-285/westbound. They went the wrong direction on I-285 - towards Tucker, instead of Cumberland. 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Meanwhile, the Pence caravan went the wrong direction on 285 - east instead of west - and is now back in the right direction trying to ease its way through gridlocked traffic to Dobbins Air Reserve Base. #gapol [twitter.com] pic.twitter.com/80x8ZJMZeA

&mdash [t.co]; Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) November [twitter.com] 20, 2020

","_id":"BUKD2GU2LJC3XE3WCKC5WPUEWU","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1606746732198,"content":"AJC political insider Greg Bluestein’s head was full of several big, breaking Georgia political stories that day and he was using his time on the long trip from Gainesville back to Dobbins AFB to write two stories on deadline. At some point just after the wrong ramp choice, both he and AJC photographer Alyssa Pointer looked up and noticed the maneuver. They each had covered many of these visits before and first thought the motorcade chose that ramp for a reason.","_id":"ZLV3XODUJ5DOTFQQEHHA5K3KC4","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1606746732199,"content":"“Maybe we were just getting on an access road or something or somehow going that way and cutting over - no we were just getting on I-285 for an exit and then turning around,” Bluestein recalled with slight laughter. “And by then, all the security detail that was blocking the streets - they were out of position.” That is when Bluestein and Pointer both knew for sure there was a mistake.","_id":"OR43W2T5VJCAHGP4PQ2ZXTFNJY","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1606746732200,"content":"The foible was painfully obvious when the motorcade had to exit I-285 and go through unblocked traffic on a bridge to come back the other way - with no security to hold back that traffic. “The Secret Service guy in our van, he himself was wondering what the heck was happening,” Bluestein said.","_id":"VH3FDYG5LJDMNK6NP4XDGRRC7A","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1606746732201,"content":"“You know how they did it? The left lane,” McKay nearly exclaimed. “They cleared everybody off to the right as best they could and they moved [the motorcade] in the left lane.” McKay watched the contingent do this from a distance, after it passed I-85 and was on its way in the right direction toward I-75 in Cobb.","_id":"XRDU4O4O6BGZVBAGDGY5I7VJ34","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1606746732202,"content":"“We were in the far left lane and we were not moving at a high rate of speed at all. We were just rumbling through pretty slowly, moving in and out of traffic.” Bluestein recalled. “And then suddenly we hear this, like, avalanche of sirens behind us.” Bluestein said that numerous GSP patrol cars came up behind the caravan to help serve as a buffer between the continent’s caboose and the rest of the traffic they passed. “That I-285 stretch - that was rough,” Bluestein chuckled.","_id":"4IZONOXGERGSHLMYAW4A6CQRI4","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1606746732203,"content":"Yeah it was. In fact, Bluestein got a text that night from a friend who was stopped for over an hour somewhere. The stoppage could have been one of many places, since the closures hugged the north side Perimeter between Tucker and Cumberland for over 30 minutes longer than planned.","_id":"JQB6QIRFQNABZKUU2FPETGQSRY","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1606746732204,"content":"I tried to find out just who actually made the wrong turn. No one at Cobb PD ventured an answer on the record and GSP could only refer me to the Secret Service, who plans the whole detail..","_id":"A34HZ3YBDJHZDCB7FI5YRINXTE","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1606746732205,"content":"A U.S.S.S. spokesperson responded curtly to my email on the matter. In it, I asked three things: who made the mistake, was there a security risk in the detour, and if there was no security risk, why cause such big closures?","_id":"G3RMU6PRLRB5XBSSRWOODDOL2E","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1606746732206,"content":"“For operational security reasons, the Secret Service does not discuss specifically or in general terms the means, methods or resources we utilize to carry out our protective mission,” they said. I asked a follow-up question about whom Atlanta motorists should hold accountable for the wrong turn. They did not respond.","_id":"KTEG3SUKZNEALHIDZZJNVLBQP4","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1606746732207,"content":"The circle of governmental buck-passing moves much faster than the Great Circle Around Atlanta did that Friday. This is the latest example of a political entourage bludgeoning a Friday afternoon commute. Simultaneous visits from President Trump and Vice President Pence almost exactly a year before caused waves of closures and a premature shutdown of the Downtown Connector. Trump’s March visit to the CDC prompted interstates to be blocked far longer than the time needed for the motorcade to return to Dobbins. The obnoxious closures transcend any political party. Nothing is likely to change in this regard in January of 2021.","_id":"OR6ULD7Q4FFWDGQ6XCA75JVNQM","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1606746732208,"content":"That the closures are necessary is not the gripe here. To ensure safety, they are. But the amount of time roads stay closed far exceeds the need. I spoke with someone close to the situation months ago and relayed some grievances. They listened to and understood them, but also said nothing would change. Protocol.","_id":"EUK2WJ6MWRGETGDW63OEMKNG5A","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1606746732209,"content":"So, Atlanta, no one is going to own the mistake. Not one person from three agencies will apologize for your being late to see your kids or for dinner. They certainly won’t publicly empathize with the time, productivity, and gas money wasted. No. This is top secret protocol and we are not even worthy of eye contact. “We, the people” are merely “we, the subjects” when VIPs arrive.","_id":"KE4VQMX3DZAEFHYCS3RM4RN5IM","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1606746732210,"content":"We musn’t wallow in this. The January 5th Senate double-runoff will soon again bring Pence, former President Barack Obama, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, and others to our state, Bluestein said. All we can do is plan and endure. Heck, working from home isn’t such a bad idea.","_id":"OFL3H22NFBEDNAU2E2DE3LE52Q","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1606746732211,"content":"Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on 95.5 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also hosts a traffic podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay [wsbradio.com] on wsbradio.com. Contact him at [email protected] ."],"created_date":"2020-11-28T18:17:48.681Z","revision":"revision_id":"SEBMUOZF7FDQ3KX5S6YEPJLIBQ","parent_id":"WE55C5VD7BGR3I4K4BSFOHCEMY","editions":["default"],"branch":"default","user_id":"[email protected]","published":true,"last_updated_date":"2020-11-30T14:33:25.261Z","canonical_url":"/atlanta-traffic/gridlock-guy-unapologetic-wrong-turn-causes-a-motorcade-to-ruin-another-friday-afternoon/H3UWFIWIWVCMDANAKJ4XQ5ZWU4/","headlines":"basic":"Gridlock Guy: Unapologetic wrong turn causes a motorcade to ruin another Friday afternoon","mobile":"","native":"","print":"","tablet":"","web":"","meta_title":"","owner":"sponsored":false,"id":"ajc","content_restrictions":"content_code":"free","address":,"workflow":"status_code":1,"subheadlines":"basic":"","description":"basic":"When Vice President Mike Pence made a swing to Georgia on Friday, November 20th, his goal was to campaign for Georgia Republicans in a runoff to keep the U.S. Senate red. 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The state’s growing population presses on and stresses the traffic system, both needing more of it and creating more stress upon it. It’s a cannibalizing cycle made worse by limited mass transit options and the spatial need for vehicles. But what if some parts of these overtaxed structures could repair themselves? That could be just around the bend.","_id":"Q77N6MP76FBMVF6KVIGKITJATE","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Enter Dr. Sarah Hintermayer, whose expertise in bioprocess engineering for specialty chemicals titan Evonik Industries, led her to winning an innovation competition within the German company. Evonik gave Dr. Hintermayer one year and over $200,000 to develop her prize-winning idea: a self-healing cement. The project was called WallCraft - yes, even employing the World of Warcraft gaming theme.","_id":"IFRO4KGN5REGNADJ5X3UZGQXIQ","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Dr. Hintermayer found that mixing concrete with live, but dormant bacteria could repair itself, if something activated the microorganisms. Let her explain.","_id":"LNT2YXPUIZGE3N7ZVE7WZA2GNM","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"“So spores - that’s kind of a sleeping form of bacteria - and also we are adding some nutrition, so that once the spores wake up, they have something to eat. Basically, they do wake up if water enters the concrete and gets it really wet,” Dr. Hintermayer told the AJC and 95.5 WSB.","_id":"BK6LTHKCI5CUBFZGDRMZC5OC4U","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Water enters concrete when the very cracks that need repair begin to form. “You can repeat it. It’s like when you cut your skin, it can heal, and it can heal again and that happens with the concrete itself. And the process in the concrete itself is very similar to a coral reef - a very tiny coral reef in the crack of a concrete structure,” Dr. Hintermayer explained. “In the concrete, you have an excess of calcium. And then the carbon dioxide [produced by the bacteria] and the calcium have a reaction, forming limestone.”","_id":"FHFJCJNYS5CPPAXNUHHS4CNDR4","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Dr. Hintermayer continued: “The carbon dioxide will fill up any crack and close up the surfaces of concrete structures. Once the crack is closed, there won’t be any water in it any longer and the bacteria goes back to sleep.”","_id":"4RU7KZ7O3JFKBMKGZMECEEGBCE","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"This process can repeat itself as long the nutrients exist and builders likely will be able to add more nutrients or bacteria themselves where needed. “With the bacteria, we increase the amount of carbon dioxide exactly where we need it, so that the crack fills up way faster. So that’s the trick.”","_id":"VKLZUSRJ6RHFNI6MFFRPZMW5HY","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"When the original bacteria in the concrete die, they will have produced plenty of replacements. “They want to reproduce, that’s their purpose,” Dr. Hintermayer conveyed, giving this writer flashbacks to his 9th grade Biology class. “The way they divide is - once the conditions get bad, they go back into the spores form. And they can be activated, once the conditions are good again.”","_id":"FX3V5DGZDJD7JAVHPLH6CAVY7U","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"But can this biological process produce limestone fast enough to repair a fissure on a bridge, for example? “If there’s a crack that forms slowly, maybe [the self-repair] happens later or it doesn’t happen at all,” Dr. Hintermayer said. The bigger the crack, the more exposure to water, so the faster that these bacteria activate and begin the eventual limestone production. The “healing” does not instantaneously completely heal a crack, but the repair begins automatically.","_id":"BCZXK5EFHBFQ7EECQLOTI2EYSQ","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"“Because you have the bacteria in the repair mortar, basically it grows into the interface. So you have a much better connection between the repaired part and the old part.” Dr. Hintermayer said that repairing traditional cement is difficult, because getting new material to mix with the original surface does not happen easily. But using a bacteria-infused repair mortar simplifies the process, because of the healing power of the microorganisms.","_id":"TBWVE7UOHZHRBA2VLXWQE4SNMU","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"One caveat to this mixture’s efficacy is that the cement has to have some sort of water exposure to activate. So, this solution would not work for interior-facing concrete. However, a lot of interior concrete cracks because of the expansion of corroding steel. Water causes that corrosion. So, in theory, self-healing concrete could work in that environment if enough water entered.","_id":"5LFPTN42VZBW5LTIVL2B3CMNGQ","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Structures that could benefit the most from self-healing cement are bridges, parking lots, and basements - all of which get exposed to moisture, Dr. Hintermayer said.","_id":"UDOD35U7T5HYRF2H3ZOU3HM54Q","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Evonik is already working with a constructor who is about to build a parking lot with this revolutionary material. A competing company is procuring a concrete that heals itself with a chemical reaction, rather than with bacteria. But the problem there, Dr. Hintermayer said, is that once the reaction occurs once, it cannot occur again. Another competitor has created a repair mortar with polymers that cure very quickly. But, again, that reaction can only occur once. There is at least one other competitor using bacteria similarly to Dr. Hintermayer.","_id":"B7UMJ2JHLJHWJKJF3XJ6EUCS2A","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Dr. Hintermayer’s hope is that their product will be ready for the market in the second half of 2021. She said that the initial cost of the concrete is more expensive than traditional material, but its healing abilities save the money over time. She also said that traditional concrete is increasing in cost over time, because, believe it or not, there is a sand shortage. “We’re running out of sand. I’m not kidding you here,” Dr. Hintermayer said. Add that to your “Things I Heard in 2020” list.","_id":"BVIYXMFGW5AXRJL6ACQ3CXCV3E","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"This self-healing concrete is also better for the environment, because concrete production produces lots of carbon dioxide. This bacteria-infused material heals itself, meaning less concrete production is needed in the long run.","_id":"5TBCXT7I5RHGVLJMVHC7OCCJKY","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"This infused cement, however, will not necessarily remedy cracks and potholes that form in roads. Asphalt, not cement, is the main material on thoroughfares and bacteria would not survive that high-temperature mixing process. But bridges and sidewalks could see a near-immediate benefit from this regenerative cement.","_id":"DZNQUIP25NG6HPSZ6KXPPF46F4","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"The American Society of Civil Engineers gave Georgia’s bridges a “C+” grade in its 2019 “Infrastructure Report Card.” By their definition, that means that the state’s bridges are generally in fair or good condition, but require attention and have an increasing vulnerability to risk. Any repair is costly. 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Traffic on I-75 along Pence’s route to Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta is now flowing smoothly, though there is a crash on I-75 South near North Marietta Parkway that is causing heavy delays.","type":"oembed_response","subtype":"twitter","_id":"QERGITY5RFA6BM7L2MU4JZGR6M","raw_oembed":"url":"https://twitter.com/ajcwsbtraffic/status/1329953008717885445","author_name":"AJC WSB Traffic","author_url":"https://twitter.com/ajcwsbtraffic","html":"

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","_id":"XE5OU5J7QBA7FOQK3O5ULYXUZU","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605910016279,"content":"UPDATE [3:25 p.m.]: Lanes have reopened on several metro Atlanta interstates Friday afternoon as Vice President Mike Pence’s motorcade arrived in Gainesville for his second campaign stop of the day.","_id":"EJGJTGT3NFHTXBSX7ESESHRK3U","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605903688322,"content":"Pence is in town campaigning for Republican Sens. David Purdue and Kelly Loeffler ahead of the state’s Jan. 5 runoff election to determine control of the U.S. Senate. He spoke earlier at a rally in Canton.","type":"oembed_response","subtype":"twitter","_id":"YZGEDTAW55GLXAN2ZXJZPHHD3A","raw_oembed":"url":"https://twitter.com/bluestein/status/1329875507782029313","author_name":"Greg Bluestein","author_url":"https://twitter.com/bluestein","html":"

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nn","width":550,"height":null,"type":"twitter","cache_age":"3153600000","provider_name":"Twitter","provider_url":"https://twitter.com","version":"1.0","_id":"https://twitter.com/ajcwsbtraffic/status/1329881837703979008","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":1605921474970,"referent":"id":"https://twitter.com/ajcwsbtraffic/status/1329881837703979008","service":"oembed","type":"twitter","provider":"https://publish.twitter.com/oembed?url=","referent_properties":"additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":1605921474970,"_id":"NHXBPG7MX5BUDAZRIGYZGPWT4E","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605903688326,"content":"The Hall County Sheriff’s Office said road closures will remain in place on Cavalry Church Road until about 5 p.m.","_id":"HFNAHH6VYRAKRJUSEBXLZAQIGA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605904326617,"content":"UPDATE [2:30 p.m.]: Vice President Mike Pence is on the move again ahead of his second campaign rally of the afternoon for Georgia Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.","_id":"5CKYKTPKJ5CGVJKOYUYWC3TIYA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605900724220,"content":"Pence’s first stop was in Canton, and he’s expected to speak in Gainesville later Friday.","_id":"ASC3UBRUCNFQZLG7UVT45Y4XE4","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605900724222,"content":"A rolling closure is impacting southbound lanes of I-575 and I-75 from Canton to Marietta, the WSB 24-Hour Traffic Center reported.","_id":"NCWU245JBVF4JIALP2KQQ4FO54","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605900724223,"content":"The Hall County Sheriff’s Office said drivers should expect road closures between 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. as Pence heads to Gainesville.","_id":"6KEESSZ4NZEU7G73VPSIVLBTEY","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605900724224,"content":"The closures will be on Cavalry Church Road between Barber Road and Chicopee Woods Elementary, according to sheriff’s office spokesman Derreck Booth.","_id":"MSKPAJGNDRCR7DUKOCCPAEBS5E","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605900724225,"content":"“Drivers who use Calvary Church Road should plan alternate routes ahead of the closure,” he said.","type":"oembed_response","subtype":"twitter","_id":"GNVNHUKDGRD5VHX7YYATGMYCHQ","raw_oembed":"url":"https://twitter.com/HallCountySO/status/1329872209146486787","author_name":"Hall County Sheriff","author_url":"https://twitter.com/HallCountySO","html":"

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n

**11:55 am Update**nThe roadway has been reopened nn** 11:25 am Update**nOne southbound lane has been opened to help the...

Posted by Forsyth County Sheriff's Office on Friday, November 20, 2020

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forsyth","publishing":"scheduled_operations":"publish_edition":[],"unpublish_edition":[],"_id":"ZAXST3W3QZEYVMMMWIQZD2HDZI","website":"ajc","website_url":"/news/traffic-alert-overturned-tractor-trailer-blocks-ga-400-south/ZAXST3W3QZEYVMMMWIQZD2HDZI/"},{"type":"story","version":"0.10.6","content_elements":["_id":"IDSOWTYPMZCOLJODYY32WJRGQU","type":"text","additional_properties":"_id":1605299796389,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"The second completed ramp revamp in the Transform I-285/GA-400 project is set to open in time for Thanksgiving. GDOT crews are on track to open a new, longer GA-400/southbound ramp to Abernathy Road on Monday, November 23rd at 5 a.m. Weather delayed the scheduled opening by a week.","_id":"2Q6VOYOTDNAW3BLDJTQVCSVKPM","type":"text","additional_properties":"_id":1605299796390,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"“All that changes with that is that you need to make that decision a little further [back],” GDOT spokesperson Natalie Dale told the AJC and 95.5 WSB.","_id":"OK7ZMZFKSBDU7OBGTRH7IG57DE","type":"text","additional_properties":"_id":1605299796391,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"The new exit ramp to Abernathy Road in Sandy Springs will now begin just south of the North Springs MARTA Station overpass — about a half-mile north of where the Abernathy exit is now. Just as is the case with the new GA-400/southbound flyover ramp to I-285/eastbound, drivers will have to commit earlier to exiting at Abernathy. "Right after you pass the exit to the North Springs MARTA Station, you’ll want to get to the right, if you want to take the Abernathy exit,' Dale explained.","_id":"66YULKR6AJGCVGDM7JQ7VZFPWY","type":"text","additional_properties":"_id":1605299796392,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"One reason the new Abernathy Road exit ramp will be longer is to allow for more traffic to queue up at the traffic light and not interrupt the GA-400/southbound travel lanes.","_id":"ZQ6VKEMENVB4HCVOQ44V7BDRNE","type":"text","additional_properties":"_id":1605299796393,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Architects and engineers designed the entire I-285/GA-400 interchange to handle the traffic volumes of the 1980s and 1990s, not the 21st century. So that has created bigger backups over the years and the friction that indecision and procrastination both cause.","_id":"TDQCJVU33RDMTLHWJGLMWNPBZI","type":"text","additional_properties":"_id":1605299796394,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"“You have people who take this interchange every day - it’s part of their everyday routine and they still wait until the last minute to make decisions, whether that’s sort of wanting to jockey for that better spot in line or whether they’re not paying attention, maybe they’re on their phone, maybe they’re zoned out,” Dale offered. “What you have is so many problems long term with merging and weaving, which causes accidents, which cause secondary accidents, which cause backups.”","_id":"3NSLNH6PWZCU3H66FODMC33K6U","type":"text","additional_properties":"_id":1605299796395,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"This new exit ramp to Abernathy Road will do the same as many features in this revamped interchange, Dale said. By forcing drivers to decide to exit earlier, the longer ramp will separate that slower, exiting traffic from the faster through traffic. That eliminates the last minute weaves and merges, thus decreasing the aforementioned crashes and delays.","_id":"CVHX7Q3NFZACTHKXDYUFVH2ZPI","type":"text","additional_properties":"_id":1605299796396,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"The first new major ramp opening in the Transform I-285/GA-400 project a few weeks ago did not go smoothly for many motorists. Crews opened the brand new GA-400/southbound ramp to I-285/eastbound, which starts close to a half-mile before the older one, in the 5 a.m. hour on a Monday. Some drivers did not realize the change and missed the exit. GDOT assessed how that rollout went and felt they could have used more signage, spread the word a bit earlier, and shied away from debuting a new ramp early on the first day of the work week.","_id":"LER4BU7T2FFXLEX7K4EUE2DR3I","type":"text","additional_properties":"_id":1605299796397,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"But, Dale said, they have still decided to open the new southbound exit to Abernathy early on a Monday for a shrewd reason. “The opening of this ramp requires some full closures and some detours surrounding full closures that need to be done over a two-day period. And so we have chosen to do that over the weekend, with the opening being on a Monday morning, rather than having that full detour and a closure on a Monday and Tuesday for a Wednesday opening.”","_id":"BDDMOROLBJFAXF2EER4Y23C6SE","type":"text","additional_properties":"_id":1605299796398,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Not every ramp opening in this project is the same. Dale said they take each one on a case-by-case basis to determine the best rollout to motorists. GDOT does know that an early Monday commute change requires multi-faceted messaging. “We will work through y’all to get the message out. We will enhance signage out there to let people know it’s coming.” Dale said. “We will all have eyes on it Monday morning to see how it goes.”","_id":"UKLDUQTDZZFTXOEFAGYRPIZQWU","type":"text","additional_properties":"_id":1605299796399,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"The WSB Traffic Team will be all over this weekend closure and then the scheduled Monday morning opening on November 23rd. Be sure and tune in on 95.5 WSB, Channel 2 Action News, and our Triple Team Traffic Alerts App to get appraised of any difficulties or the lack thereof that day.","_id":"X2JXCDBCVFA5BN4RRJQW6KAS24","type":"text","additional_properties":"_id":1605299796400,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on 95.5 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also hosts a traffic podcast with Smilin' Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at [email protected] ."],"created_date":"2020-11-13T20:21:46.967Z","revision":"revision_id":"RG62LAHN7ZAIVLNR6J2GXRMIP4","parent_id":"TUVZVWGF2NBLPFWROGQESAKM34","editions":["default"],"branch":"default","user_id":"[email protected]","published":true,"last_updated_date":"2020-11-15T13:00:05.402Z","canonical_url":"/atlanta-traffic/gridlock-guy-new-ramp-another-early-monday-decision-in-sandy-springs/TMWEVICVSFAH7MJRZDZY3WXGFY/","headlines":"basic":"Gridlock Guy: New ramp, another early Monday decision in Sandy Springs","meta_title":"","mobile":"","native":"","print":"","tablet":"","web":"","owner":"sponsored":false,"id":"ajc","content_restrictions":"content_code":"free","address":,"workflow":"status_code":1,"subheadlines":"basic":"","description":"basic":"The second completed ramp revamp in the Transform I-285/GA-400 project is set to open in time for 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But it comes amid a sharp drop in traffic volume during the pandemic. And it likely understates the number of people who have died because fatality reports take months to trickle in.","_id":"PH3BC5TGTFCWVBTG3POTCJ4ZJA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723085,"content":"Safety advocates say there’s no mystery behind the rising fatalities. They say motorists are tempted to speed in lighter traffic. Distracted driving and a failure to wear seat belts also are factors. That combination has been deadly.","_id":"JSTJDL63CRGNTNVJQXK3K66ZWA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723086,"content":"“Every one of those people (who died) didn’t go home to their families,” GDOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale said. “That is unacceptable.”","_id":"WOCQDCRCA5DV5P6IOXHUUAHFNQ","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723087,"content":"In normal times, metro Atlanta has some of the world’s worst traffic. “Rush hour” consumes much of the morning and afternoon. Stop-and-go traffic routinely frustrates motorists trying to arrive at their destinations on time. Frequent fender benders, periodic truck rollovers and the occasional bridge inferno only add to the frustration.","_id":"D57K3DRIXBHHNI4UNK3B3ZS7RA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723090,"content":"But things changed during the pandemic. When Gov. Brian Kemp ordered Georgians to shelter in place in April, traffic volume fell as much as 50% on some state highways.","_id":"4MGUP3XBMZC7PCRVRTB4NWLYQU","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723091,"content":"Even after Kemp lifted the order, traffic was slow to recover. Today, it’s generally back to normal in rural areas.","_id":"3T6P3O7AQRFTJMOMBTY5HN6HWE","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723092,"content":"But GDOT says traffic on interstate highways is still down 5% to 10%. With the pandemic worsening, many school districts are offering digital learning, and many employees are still working from home.","_id":"2C5SOGEX65CFVCNGSG73LN3XTU","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723093,"content":"Maybe months of sheltering have pushed some Georgians over the edge. Maybe free-flowing traffic has some giddy motorists pushing the pedal to the metal, occasionally to extremes such as the motorcyclist clocked at 178 mph on Ga. 400 in September.","_id":"5JBJVBCWCNFM7NM2TCOOZ5MESM","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723094,"content":"In the first few months of the pandemic — from March 1 through July 15 — nearly 24% of Georgia Department of Public Safety speeding citations were for traveling 24 mph or more over the speed limit. That’s up from 15% for the same period in 2019.","_id":"4U6HTM56ZJFCVMRONZPDLDDSCA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723095,"content":"“People are driving way over the speed limit now,” Georgia State Patrol Lt. Maurice Raines said.","_id":"NUS5PGTQWJD3VERI6KFD5GE2TA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723097,"content":"Raines said higher speeds leave motorists less time to react when something goes amiss. The results have been tragic.","_id":"7VF2RNGAI5CCBOH7MX6XCRHTIA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723098,"content":"Through Nov. 6, at least 1,297 people have lost their lives on Georgia highways, up from 1,269 during the same period last year. Some recent examples:","_id":"DW6EJCXSPBAOHLZNPGIF6ZV2VA","type":"list","list_type":"unordered","items":["type":"text","content":"Nineteen people died in crashes over Labor Day weekend — more than double the number who were killed in 2019.","_id":"WAJY66C4WJEVZERTBI4PU7ZWRE","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723099,"block_properties":,"type":"text","content":"Last week a Cobb County driver was charged with first-degree vehicular homicide in a September crash that left one person dead. Police said he was traveling 77 mph in a 45 mph zone in the rain on South Cobb Drive when he lost control of the vehicle and struck a man waiting for a bus.","_id":"2HBLVOK555BHDOQHORUWH2YCBA","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723100,"block_properties":,"type":"text","content":"An 18-year-old woman and a baby died and several other people were injured Sept. 30 when a high-speed chase ended in a crash in Midtown. Police clocked the driver at 120 mph on I-75. He faces two counts of felony murder and other charges.","_id":"C7KQ5SHPQNB5HMTNCCVOBJ6JEE","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723101,"block_properties":],"_id":"CXOLL3TPTRGZHAO4DJ3L7BL7FY","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723102,"content":"Speed isn’t the only factor in the rising death toll. GDOT says three quarters of traffic fatalities are caused by unsafe behaviors such as distracted or impaired driving. And 60% of victims were not wearing seat belts or authorities can’t determine whether they were wearing seat belts.","_id":"5J47P3DPJZDVXIWB6XEQDNSDHA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723103,"content":"“What is going on on the road this year is a handful of distracted-driving issues, speed issues, lack of seat belts,” GDOT’s Dale said.","_id":"GXRTHMAVOBHQ7GJSTON4LTPAFU","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723104,"content":"That likely will reverse a recent trend of falling traffic fatalities in Georgia, which peaked in 2016 at 1,556 deaths.","_id":"MJMO4FCOY5FNJB7KF6EMFMSSOM","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723105,"content":"The problem isn’t limited to Georgia. The National Safety Council, an advocacy group, estimates that motor vehicle death rates rose 20% in the United States in the first six months of this year.","_id":"MKVS327K3VGIJOGD6IYPFTTGZU","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723106,"content":"With the busy holiday travel season approaching, some fear the mayhem will get worse. Raines said the state patrol will try to stem motorists' bad behavior.","_id":"I2L7B5KC5JADVI3GFCC35PWA3Q","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723107,"content":"“We will be aggressively enforcing the traffic laws,” he said. “The easiest way to not be pulled over by us is to follow the law.”","_id":"MGFA22LE45EG5EPAQANSZ4EAT4","type":"divider","additional_properties":"_id":"WGZYXT7EPZEJ7MHWRLGIG6YU5A","comments":[],"_id":"AYQ2JIB2DRCGVNGAFF5LFA7QY4","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723109,"content":"Georgia traffic fatalities","_id":"CYANUYVF6FB7NEQWPBUCVWXP4E","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723110,"content":"2014: 1,164","_id":"RNCUL7ZF7RE6XNJFX77WEPHQ7A","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723111,"content":"2015: 1,432","_id":"QDNP7GR2LVHFXB7P7JH6O2DJRM","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723112,"content":"2016: 1,556","_id":"UTRS5HFGSNCKLBA2TDJMQDMMBE","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723113,"content":"2017: 1,540","_id":"ZTENQP5AMVGE3FKPTM4RLKN3JU","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723114,"content":"2018: 1,504","_id":"CLVNJPMGFZCZPAARS5YXW55VRM","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723115,"content":"2019: 1,507","_id":"ERNCPKN4XBHZJE52Q7KXVBDBZQ","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723116,"content":"2020: 1,297*","_id":"RM7HSTRKP5D3BKX3GE6NIRNFLU","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723117,"content":"*Through Nov. 6","_id":"SXUIRM4RRBHG3CJDGRBMVXDMKE","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605119723118,"content":"SOURCE: Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Georgia Department of Transportation"],"created_date":"2020-11-09T19:01:53.518Z","revision":"revision_id":"NCYRNI3UHRBFRLQRWEOA3HGKP4","parent_id":"PSSNVKDPBZFZZAE67MSH2XRDTI","editions":["default"],"branch":"default","user_id":"[email protected]","published":true,"last_updated_date":"2020-11-13T18:58:28.298Z","canonical_url":"/atlanta-traffic/amid-pandemic-speeding-has-deadly-consequences-on-georgia-roads/G56CMNDXGVHNZGD5ZSM6ULCWHE/","headlines":"basic":"Amid pandemic, speeding has deadly consequences on Georgia roads","mobile":"","native":"","print":"","tablet":"","web":"","meta_title":"","owner":"sponsored":false,"id":"ajc","content_restrictions":"content_code":"premium","address":,"comments":"allow_comments":true,"workflow":"status_code":1,"subheadlines":"basic":"","description":"basic":"Eight months into the pandemic, traffic still hasn’t recovered to normal levels in Georgia. 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In January 2019, Parker sought to capitalize on growing political support for transit by calling for a $100 billion “moonshot” investment in regional transit.","_id":"DETTCPQRBVGMJJRZ4VYKHCGODU","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605206930374,"content":"But such ambitions have bumped up against political realities. Last week Gwinnett County voters rejected transit expansion plans for the second time in less than two years, in part because of lingering suspicions of MARTA in the suburbs. Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton counties also appear to be in no hurry to expand transit.","_id":"NGHHNMVPQNCNJI7IXPCVWVA6QQ","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605206930375,"content":"What’s more, the coronavirus pandemic has darkened MARTA’s long-term budget outlook. And the agency has suspended most of its bus service and beefed up its remaining service as it tries to encourage social distancing among passengers. The move has prompted a persistent outcry from residents who relied on the suspended routes.","_id":"MNR5CCRJLNGLJK5SUQCQJJELTY","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605206930376,"content":"It’s unclear whether Parker will get a raise under the contract extension. His current salary is $366,575.","_id":"WFNL556WPFDQJK3E2WI6V7XUGA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1605206930377,"content":"Parker also is eligible for a bonus of up to 10% of his base salary. 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As we savored our delayed honeymoon in Hawaii, Hurricane Zeta was wreaking havoc on the Gulf Coast. And we watched it unfold on TV from our Waikiki hotel room in the overnight hours of Wednesday, October 28th. Zeta’s inland decrease in wind speed downgraded it to a Tropical Storm before it cut through Atlanta during morning drive that Thursday.","_id":"VBOYIZL3HFCZROWBJG3QUZ2FSI","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Just the threat of any kind of rain in drive time is enough reason for alarm in Atlanta. Drivers lose their minds when driving in the wet. But Zeta brought heavy rain and high winds. Many area schools and jobs closed for the day, since there were sure to be (and there ending up being) numerous power outages. Travel during heavy wind and rain and in the dark with debris in the road is also very dangerous for those who would actually have to go to a campus.","_id":"AW6ZJMIFFVG73HBLNT4IIT7XD4","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Marquee weather events make for marquee traffic events and while we hiked and beached on Oahu, the WSB Traffic Team shifted into full game mode. Morning drive WSB Skycopter anchor Smilin' Mark McKay had a unique view, as he led traffic reports on 95.5 FM.","_id":"TCWXJOYLIBC4NIH7V7YT53INAM","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"“Power in my Buckhead neighborhood went out around 5 a.m., yet I was able to continue with live reporting during Atlanta’s Morning News with Scott Slade, thanks to my condo building’s generator,” McKay recalled. “From my 17th floor vantage point, I could see transformers blowing all across the top of the swaying trees that make up my skyline. The eerie lime green glow was constant and a bit jarring.”","_id":"FQXKCNNPXJFADPCRB3FDK7LDUY","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Of course, the WSB Skycopter didn’t take flight that blustery, monsoon-like morning. “The heaviest winds blew into the Metro Atlanta area before dawn and reports of trees doing down added up in a hurry,” McKay said. But the WSB Traffic Team deployed all of its tools - police scanners, sensors on the Triple Team Traffic Alerts App, phones calls from motorists, phone calls to 911 dispatch centers, and social media - to paint the most thorough picture for those that had to travel in the aftermath.","_id":"2VET63LK5JAD5A33DIIJX27CQQ","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Casting that wide net brought in literally dozens of storm-related traffic issues. As winds howled at 50 mph and buckets of rain poured, pools of standing water formed and, of course, wrecks started proliferating. Trees and wires came down knocking out power and blocking roads. “We had our share of huge trees fall on the interstates: one in West Atlanta on I-20/westbound knocking out two right lanes at MLK Junior Drive and one that fell on at least one vehicle on I-985/nb near Spout Springs Road in Hall County,” McKay explained. “The majority of the trees came crashing down in neighborhoods and subdivisions all across North Georgia. It made getting around challenging for a couple of days in some instances.” In fact, Cherokee County had at least three roads impacted with utility work at least four days after the storm.","_id":"TQVU4SUZCRCTDPKKLU4PXMWIKM","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"McKay finally got a birds eye view from the Skycopter of the swaths of problems the next day. “The morning after the storm in the WSB SkyCopter told the story of the hundreds of thousands who were without power. Neighborhoods that we fly over every day were dark. No house lights, no street lights, no traffic signals. It was a patchwork of the haves and the have nots, with some neighborhoods looking normal in the predawn hours and the others hardly recognizable in the complete darkness.”","_id":"PX2IC3LSPRHEZKXKUPWG2YG3CQ","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"That phenomenon, in some ways, made covering the storm more challenging. There was widespread damage in pockets - no one area truly got hit the hardest. Everywhere got a little bit. And just as with any storm, there was no time to gather and announce every single road affected. But Ashley Frasca, Mark Arum, Veronica Harrell, Mike Shields, Alex Williams, Zach Grizzle, Jonathan Dockery, and David Hubbard hustled hard to find as many issues as possible and keep a running list on wsbradio.com and our Triple Team Traffic Alerts App.","_id":"IKBQRVPSGZFGREN3WW7SRX24MU","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"And power crews were busy for days, even relying on help from other states, to get homes, businesses, and intersections back online. “Hats off to the power crews who are based here in Georgia and those who came in from adjoining states to help clear debris and get the lights back on,” McKay said. “On Monday, 11/2, we flew over what looked to be a staging area for those crews in the parking lot of the Atlanta Civic Center. It was a reassuring sight from 700 feet up that teamwork helped get Georgia back on its feet after the storm.”","_id":"JOD5JUIZXNGHFMT2MLFM2HKSJU","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Georgia could very well need another assist this coming week, as Tropical Storm Eta could track toward North Georgia. First responders, power crews, our WSB Radio and WSB-TV meteorologists, and the WSB Traffic Team will be ready.","_id":"MYAP3UU77ZFP7FNGLF6DPVVFKE","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on 95.5 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also hosts a traffic podcast with Smilin' Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. 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What you see is the aftermath of the wreck at 316 and Patrick Mill. What you don’t see is the brave men and women of...

Posted by Barrow County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, November 4, 2020

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","_id":"ZT5YK4FQZNEKBDEVV5OLG56I7A","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"This bucks at a recent annual trend of decreasing highway fatalities, partially due to 2018′s Hands-Free Georgia anti-distracted driving law and the continuing evolution of vehicle safety.","_id":"VXOZB4ZIVFDLDJ6IRLTXZGPHQQ","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Driver safety has also felt the “2020 Effect”. Despite a pandemic-induced 40-50% reduce in traffic at the height of the COVID-19 shutdown in the spring, crash deaths have risen. The AJC’s David Wickert reported from a recent GDOT board meeting that 1,202 people have died on Georgia’s roads, compared with two less at the same time a year ago.","_id":"KFJPBG6JHJG5FI5ACV6UYNSD7Y","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"“It’s shocking and it’s really disappointing when we look at numbers year over year,” GDOT’s Natalie Dale said on a recent WSB Traffic Podcast. “We have to take into account that there is a three month lag in reporting.”","_id":"2SREIUXPM5F3ZEFD3YEA2RF4ME","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"So the number is already higher now and will likely continue to rise, especially now that traffic volume has nearly returned to normal. “That’s surprising, because we have spent the bulk of 2020 with a reduction of volume - a reduction in the congestion,” Dale said, echoing the conundrum.","_id":"PU5UV37SYFEPDHLQAGSLGF5VUY","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"The real question therein is how does this happen?","_id":"PIC4DQGTZJA4BP5OOSNTBPNLSA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"“What we see is...excessive speeds in the general purpose lanes,” Dale said. “Just because you could go fast when the roads were [wide] open during COVID, doesn’t mean you should. That unfortunately was costing people their lives.”","_id":"Y57R52T6QBBT5LKOBIHUAVUZEY","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"There was a harrowing trend on these newfangled empty roads some six months back. Local law enforcement saw their number of triple digit speeding tickets soar. And we on the WSB Traffic Team counted far less fender benders, but saw a stark rise in the number of bad wrecks.","_id":"HS3EZUHT3ZDQLMVSO5IO363LEQ","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"And some haven’t taken the lead from their soles even now that traffic levels have almost returned. This is leading to some horrific crashes in backups, as those carrying high speeds cannot stop in enough time for the queue.","_id":"3PIIR6ZVZRDILB3A3SROHYFQDM","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"There has also been a proliferation of drag racers and groups that shut down streets to drag race. These stunts put participants and innocent bystanders in danger. And that kind of recklessness certainly can program those same drivers to drive that way in busier conditions.","_id":"QAZDPLEJJJCXNIJPDVZKQ2P2MQ","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"GDOT cannot enforce the law. That is the job of the police. But the state’s transportation officials are not impressed at all with the racing trend. “We build the roads and we want people to respect them,” Dale said, adding, “It’s disrespectful to our roads. It’s disrespectful to taxpayers who are building these roads and maintaining these roads - and our crews.”","_id":"UD5OEEHIERCLBLVH7W36BX6VME","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"But speeding and other reckless driving are not the only factors in Georgia’s surprising highway death rate. Many in such wrecks are not wearing seatbelts. “That is the one of the most shocking things that I see when I look at these [fatality reports],” Dale said. “And in 2020, there’s just not an excuse for that. If you’re getting in a car, whether it is in the front of in the back, whether you’re in your own car, whether you’re in an Uber or a Lyft, you need to buckle up. Because it doesn’t even have to have to do with anything that is going on in your vehicle. There can be an irresponsible driver who hits your car and could cause devastation based on the fact that you were or were not wearing your seatbelt.”","_id":"FRLWZBWIPNEOPE5HEMNDK75YY4","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Dale and GDOT aren’t only passionate about encouraging others to click the buckles. “We’ve even launched an internal campaign with our own employees to remind them that if they are out on a job site, if they are in a state vehicle, if they’re in a GDOT vehicle, HEROs, anyone - we want our employees to be safe. Buckle up! We want for our own employees what we want for everyone.”","_id":"KKI5XNKBHBENVI72KVDY3UCG7I","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Many factors beyond our control make driving risky. But we can control how fast we drive, how respectfully we maneuver, and whether or not we wear seat belts. 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But a large such project has been churning for three years and continued to during the shut down. Now traffic volume is back close to pre-shutdown levels, again showcasing the need for the big enhancements being built in the Transform I-285/GA-400 project.","_id":"QOBKXPSMBZE3BAV2BNGP27PJ4M","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"“In my lifetime, as an Atlantan, this is probably the second-largest project and it is really exciting,” morning drive WSB Triple Team Traffic anchor Ashley Frasca said on the latest WSB Traffic Podcast. Frasca said the reversible Express Lanes next to I-75 on both sides of town have been the largest road project she has seen.","_id":"27XXCN4WFNDCFFZMTPNA2K6ZDE","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"“I’m always warning [motorists], especially in pre-dawn hours, that construction crews are always in and out of those travel lanes. It’s an active construction zone, as far as I know, 24/7,”  Triple Team Traffic morning drive Skycopter anchor Smilin' Mark McKay said on the podcast. “We’ve encountered some very unusual delays at very unusual times of the day.” McKay and the team specifically see surprise interruptions pace traffic to setup and break down lane closures. Motorists normally aren’t expecting shut downs in the wee hours of the morning and can get stuck, sometimes, for large blocks of time.","_id":"UCE3XZ4NZJHBXIXYGXTKJN556Y","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"But that frustrating phenomenon hasn’t been all that rare since serious work began on an expansion and re-working of the busy Sandy Springs interchange in February 2017. Crews are having to build entirely new flyover ramps, bridges, and CD ramps (to sequester exiting and entering traffic from the faster lanes), in midst of two booming freeways that are adjacent to bustling commercial and residential zones. And unlike the Express Lanes projects for the northwest and southern suburbs, workers are having to wedge these new features with little wiggle room to build. So interruptions happen.","_id":"EED4C3STO5HP5F6PDVHWWV72DY","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"And that is why this project is about a year behind schedule. Georgia Department of Transportation originally scheduled the completion for this December. The target is now December 2021.","_id":"MX64PJFZBBBUBESBCUVS65DT4Y","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"“That is not something we take lightly. That is not something that really is long-term acceptable, as far as how we deliver projects,” GDOT spokesperson Natalie Dale shared on the same podcast. “This project has had its fair share of bumps in the road.”  Dale said that bad weather has slowed the timeline, but also, too, has the presence of underground water, gas, electrical, and cable lines. “When we get in the road to do a project and there are unmarked utilities, that can just throw a wrench.” This is another externality of working so tightly in a populated area.","_id":"RKCIZ4RIRVG2JDLWTHGOA6MY2E","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"But a positive aspect of the project’s delay has been the decision to go ahead and refurbish some bridges in the interchange. “We added scope to this project,” Dale said, explaining that they felt re-doing some bridges in the midst of the other closures would keep them from shutting them down after the main project ends. “You’re getting more bang for your buck, which adds a lengthening to the timeline.”","_id":"KTFALPRHTFCU7KVOVPSIS2OKLI","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"One such bridge is Peachtree Dunwoody Road over I-285, which has been reduced from five lanes to three in the super busy “Pill Hill” area. “When that bridge opens up next year...you’ll get two lanes in each direction and a turn lane in each direction,” Dale explained.","_id":"7QLMRIRSNRGGVEUUXGDD7ZDL2Q","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"And as different parts of the project open at different times, they don’t always fit together perfectly. For example, one 95.5 WSB listener pointed out to us that the new GA-400/southbound flyover ramp to I-285/eastbound empties into the exit-only lane just before Ashford Dunwoody Road. That forces those drivers to have to jump out of that lane quickly, as others are moving into that lane to exit at Ashford Dunwoody. “The irony is, one of the main goals of the project is to reduce weaving.” Dale said that when the project ends that problem will be resolved.","_id":"DBPQZJOCHVECNFLVKKJJY5V54E","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Speaking of that new flyover ramp, we documented here how drivers got very confused a couple of weeks ago when the new GA-400/sb to I-285/eb opened and the old one closed without much fanfare or warning. GDOT sent out the press release on Friday, but they believe the decision to debut a new ramp on an early Monday morning was a misstep. “We absolutely - especially on this project - will do better to make sure people have ample warning of some of these milestones. Because we want to celebrate them just like y’all do.”","_id":"D22PIBPT7RAC7BGGHLZI64IHHA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Dale explained this is different from the Express Lanes projects because those were entirely new systems and opened all at once. This I-285/GA-400 project involves a series of components tied into an open system, so they opened a new ramp and closed an old one, hence the confusion. “We’ve gone back to our contractor, our developer and said, ‘We missed the mark. This didn’t work.This is something that should have been celebrated and instead people were left scratching their heads.’”","_id":"AV4GBIBJZZEFVIKUFQJO46CXWY","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Situations like ramps opening and closing can easily surprise Sandy Springs drivers and others passing through this zone. Folks also need to know that delays can pop up at any time, especially at night and on weekends. “We need [drivers] to stay prepared, because the more that they know - the more that we can communicate with them what’s going - the less of the inconvenience that their commute can become,” Dale said. Tune in on 95.5 WSB and Channel 2 Action News to plan your ride and run the Triple Team Traffic Alerts App on your phone to hear and see the latest closures.","_id":"FIJVZWK2BBEP3CTAQHMHGWRAM4","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Dale also urged people to practice caution in the area. Crews often work very close to passing traffic. “Travel like someone you love works there.”","_id":"JXXU4CMVCZFGXMZX74MZYQIBP4","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"And once this project ends, GA-400 tolled Express Lanes construction begins in 2022, with I-285 Express Lanes work starting in 2023. So brace yourselves, this overhaul continues for the long haul. Dale summed up the purpose of the whole project well: “We’re addressing conditions pre-COVID, but even the congestion now and the future congestion.”","_id":"VMZY55R6EVED3A7CZIUAHROPKA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on 95.5 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also hosts a traffic podcast with Smilin' Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. 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On Thursday he asked Fulton County Superior Court Judge Shukura Ingram Millender to order MARTA to restore the suspended routes.","_id":"MYLEXXSTBBAO3L5OJ2Y3PCRMZM","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1603381150834,"content":"“It’s not about why they reduced routes,” Williams argued in an online court hearing. “It’s about how they did it.”","_id":"MMMYTXTD5FFFJK6GNUWS7MRKGI","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1603381150835,"content":"MARTA says Parker has the legal authority to temporarily suspend routes under state law and under agency bylaws. On Thursday, agency attorney A. 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In the lawsuit, he says the state law governing MARTA requires decisions about bus routes, fares and schedules to be made by the agency’s board of directors — and only after input from the public.","_id":"RDYAKHG3R5FJFL2Q6ZNPC6LXZ4","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1603381150841,"content":"“It is not an academic exercise to make sure that MARTA, the MARTA CEO and the MARTA counsel follow the law,” he said.","_id":"BQMC653IMNBXNEEIRK63ORHSEA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1603381150842,"content":"Williams has asked the court to rule on a motion for partial summary judgment in the case. 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The National Safety Council actually delayed this observance six months, because traffic volume was so low in April. And considering the coverage that COVID-19 rightly garnered then, anti-distracted driving stories simply wouldn’t land in the spring.","_id":"P5ZAPPFEW5DZLM36TUKDWLJGCE","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Frankly, the message hasn’t landed enough here in Georgia since the anti-texting and driving law went into effect in July 2018. Despite emphatic efforts from stage agencies, law enforcement, law firms, and the media, the “new car smell” of that law has worn off.","_id":"64QLYJNIW5FQNM2J7PU4Q3D64U","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Distracted driving encompasses far more than the texting and holding of phones that Georgia’s law bans. Programming in-car infotainment systems and GPS devices is legal. Getting into an animated conversation with a passenger is legal. They both are distracting. Other state laws ban distracted driving in general, so anything from eating to putting on makeup is covered in the event of a wreck or a pullover for reckless driving. At that point, the distracted behavior is in an officer’s judgment.","_id":"WK4MGCN4PJGXBHQFTZBVHSF3B4","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"But our standard, as operators two thousand-pound bullets, should be higher than any law. Atlanta drivers have never had “rock hard abs” regarding driving with full attention. But 2020 has seen drivers get soft with this and with the art of driving in general.","_id":"BOQW3IKS2ZEMRERCJV4NWSUEXI","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"I see drivers all the time blatantly holding phones and texting with cars in motion. This is as bad as holding a tall boy and taking a gulp. Inebriation and distraction literally have the same effect on driving.","_id":"XVK6T25BCJBDXOMJY6JPZIZQOE","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"In a recent crash in Texas, a 16-year-old driver in a pickup plowed into another car that had slowed for a construction zone. The teenager only attempted to brake at the last second. Four-year-old Abbie Sullivan sustained severe head injuries and doctors declared her brain dead. The family chose to have her organs donated to help others, forging some good out of a tragedy. But the holes in their hearts are still gaping and emanating pain. Sullivan’s family and friends are using the “#PutItDownForAbbie” hashtag on social media to raise awareness for the issue. They also are selling merchandise and apparel to raise money for the family’s medical and funeral bills.","_id":"VF4CFERMGFGKDBFH72MSC3K5N4","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"The NSC says over 700 people per day get injured in distracted driving crashes and that stat includes the legal programming of in-car systems. We all have to do better and the tragedy of little Abbie Sullivan in Texas should be a sobering reminder.","_id":"N355UQAN6FGFXADIUTC4SY33SY","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Unique I-20 work zone causing confusion: Crews have a major undertaking on I-20 in both directions between Villa Rica and Temple. One lane of I-20/eastbound has been transplanted to the I-20/westbound side of the interstate, as workers make major repairs. So this takes a lane of capacity for I-20/westbound travelers, but moreover creates an extreme lane shift for I-20/eastbound. And then the traffic shifts back to the proper configuration at Highway 61/101/Villa Rica (Exit 24).","_id":"N6BNO23DIRF3VPX4JBO5VGTKEY","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Drivers have a choice on I-20/eastbound near Highway 113/Temple (Exit 19): they can choose to carefully cross the median and use the makeshift, reversed I-20/westbound lane or they can head straight and stay in the regular I-20/eastbound lane. The WSB Traffic Team and I have noticed big time backups and crashes almost daily in this tricky five-mile stretch of Carroll County.","_id":"QR3TVVK75NAUVGFA2QHVA3HIMU","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"With so many tractor trailers in this area and with such sweeping maneuvers necessary, the margin for error here is even lower than normal. And when crashes and stalls break out, there are even less lanes left open and smaller emergency lanes on which to clear problems. So the interstate frequently shuts down and/or gets extremely backed up.","_id":"5W2V6PMJ5VCHRPXOX5AR3X2XIE","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Drivers need to prepare before driving on this portion of the West Freeway by tuning in for live updates on 95.5 WSB and Channel 2 Action News and running with the Triple Team Traffic Alerts App in the background of their phones. Doing all this ups the odds of knowing what is ahead, so evasive action can be taken. And while driving in this area, drivers need to deploy extra focus for the sweeping lane shifts.","_id":"3R74AFXC55CM3M2LFSWOPCNC7U","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Cheers to Herschel Evans, a true champion: WSB Traffic Trooper Herschel Evans is a longtime truck driver and longtime listener to 95.5 WSB. He frequently (and safely) calls in timely traffic info to our Traffic Team, something anyone can do 24/7. (Save 404-897-7358 and help us help others!) But Evans is so much more than a helpful driver. He is a champion and has rightly been awarded.","_id":"NP6IQYDXZ5H2FMVGZMXYB6L26I","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"TravelCenters of America awarded Evans its 2020 Citizen Driver of the Year Award this past Wednesday at their store at the massive Petro truck stop on Hollowell Parkway at I-285. Several people spoke before Evans' many accomplishments: multi-time state and national safe driving competition champion, over three million crash-free miles behind the wheel of a truck, major organizer in multiple Convoy of Care events to help natural disaster victims, and organizer for years of the Safety Drive for a Cure event to raise money for and the spirits of childhood brain cancer patients. Evans has also been a safe driving road team captain, traveling the nation to educate both truck drivers and regular citizens on the rules of the road.","_id":"UP4BYRQAVJDG3CGCJJHZNH4BDA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"There likely isn’t a way for anyone to do more with their small time on earth than Evans has. He has also been extremely helpful to WSB on trucking stories and safe driving causes, including describing how COVID-19 has caused major ups and downs in his industry. Evans attributes the success of his charitable efforts to many people saying yes to him when he would ask for help.","_id":"MSHKMARI2VFR5LWMHIZAZQSAJA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Evans was truly humbled and, for a rare time, nearly speechless when a plaque with his picture and accolades was unveiled on the outside back wall of the store.","_id":"IEQDEYGDFBA7BCVBPBSNC7PTAA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Evans is a champion behind the wheel and in life. He sets the bar very high.","_id":"5EWL6JTNWFGNRLPPW5FQVHOLZA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on 95.5 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also hosts a traffic podcast with Smilin' Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at [email protected]."],"created_date":"2020-10-15T18:56:59.187Z","revision":"revision_id":"WHED6KV6SRBJTBEQVSOQFZPO34","parent_id":"NWXUY73ZRVG2TOEVWPLIYQYXZ4","editions":["default"],"branch":"default","user_id":"[email protected]","published":true,"last_updated_date":"2020-10-15T19:08:21.665Z","canonical_url":"/atlanta-traffic/gridlock-guy-distracted-driving-i-20-work-zone-jams-and-a-great-citizen/ALPWSWFHLFDRXAEUVMHGHQN3RU/","headlines":"basic":"Gridlock Guy: Distracted driving, I-20 work zone jams, and a great citizen","mobile":"","native":"","print":"","tablet":"","web":"","meta_title":"","owner":"sponsored":false,"id":"ajc","content_restrictions":"content_code":"free","address":,"comments":"allow_comments":true,"workflow":"status_code":1,"subheadlines":"basic":"","description":"basic":"October is, among many other things, National Distracted Driving Awareness 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DeKalb police investigated one crash, while the Georgia State Patrol worked the other.","_id":"YGIPCIEZBBBVHMABKNRH76IZ5E","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1602770534552,"content":"According to the DeKalb agency, only minor injuries were reported. No other information was available Thursday morning.","_id":"IVE7JIHDCFD3HN4QKDS2KHKQVI","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1602770534553,"content":"At one point, all but one right lane was blocked by the crash. The lanes began reopening at 8 a.m., and authorities cleared the scene just before 8:30 a.m., the Traffic Center reported.","_id":"7OCJF7ZRGFDMBHF4CXDXTZV6MA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1602760316223,"content":"The trip time between Ga. 316 and I-285 was more than two hours at the height of the backups.","type":"oembed_response","subtype":"twitter","_id":"FEN3TFNWIFDVVCNXMAOYMGEC4M","raw_oembed":"url":"https://twitter.com/ajcwsbtraffic/status/1316714674923204615","author_name":"AJC WSB Traffic","author_url":"https://twitter.com/ajcwsbtraffic","html":"

nn","width":550,"height":null,"type":"twitter","cache_age":"3153600000","provider_name":"Twitter","provider_url":"https://twitter.com","version":"1.0","_id":"https://twitter.com/ajcwsbtraffic/status/1316714674923204615","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":1602775713217,"referent":"id":"https://twitter.com/ajcwsbtraffic/status/1316714674923204615","service":"oembed","type":"twitter","provider":"https://publish.twitter.com/oembed?url=","referent_properties":"additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":1602775713217,"_id":"2FWHCEBMR5GEPLT3FOJWRSMGQA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1602760316225,"content":"— Please return to AJC.com for updates.","_id":"SEBIW6SSZ5GTPP74AO6OGDRN5A","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1602759850584,"content":"» For updated traffic information, listen to News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB and follow @ajcwsbtraffic on 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Most of these have involved lane closures, lane shifts, ramp changes, and narrowed shoulders. To give a lot in the long term, project designers had to take away a little during the massive rebuild. But the first new ramp of the ballyhooed redesign opened early last Monday morning rather inauspiciously. The GA-400/southbound exit ramp to I-285/eastbound now begins far earlier than before, which confused and surprised some motorists last Monday. This was the first of a wave of new ramp openings and changes in this area by the end of 2021.","_id":"LSK32QN6PZF53MKZVNVH3HERPA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1602512008142,"content":"Drivers in Sandy Springs will need to adjust to the concept of choosing to exit early. The main purpose of the Transform I-285/GA-400 is to channel local-exiting traffic from the main thru lanes earlier, eliminating the late weaving to and from exits. Creating an environment of less erratic maneuvers on this four-plus mile stretch on I-285 and six-plus mile stretch on GA-400 will improve traffic in this busy hub of Sandy Springs.","_id":"BCL2JDFPBVBDTMPVD7C4ZTVC5U","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1602512008143,"content":"By the project’s scheduled late-2021 completion, drivers wanting to exit GA-400 between the Glenridge Connector and south of Northridge Road and I-285 between Roswell Road and Ashford Dunwoody Road will have to make those decisions far earlier. Those scared of commitment, should mentally prepare now.","_id":"ID2QXJTTBBF27IYZQHAC6WVOKQ","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1602512008144,"content":"The GA-400/southbound ramp to I-285/eastbound used to begin right even with I-285, with drivers having to brake hard for a hairpin turn. But the new ramp that opened early in morning drive begins about a quarter-mile earlier. It’s a straight, long ramp and allows traffic to make the transition at a greater speed, improving the slow in the interchange. But drivers now have to commit to taking I-285/eastbound next to the Hammond Drive exit. With proper warning and signage, people should have handled this well. The transition, however, was not smooth.","_id":"F7Y5JGV45FHSTH5SENITU5FMD4","type":"raw_html","additional_properties":"_id":"P3PD6STM3JB4HNUETQFC5IKUNM","comments":[],"content":"

","_id":"A3PMZSM63NALTG4SAERZMIYFLU","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1602512008146,"content":"GDOT could have executed this exciting change better. What should have been seen as a positive - opening the first flyover ramp of a huge project and eliminating a slow, inferior ramp - became a negative on day one. Inbound Sandy Springs commuters saw a ground level sign about the ramp’s location change just before having to choose to use it. This created last minute lane changes and confusion, which caused extra backups in morning and evening drive that day.","_id":"X7VYHDCXX5ER7NRKSSUBC72BLE","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1602512008147,"content":"The messaging before the ramp’s opening was also confusing. The WSB Traffic Team got GDOT’s press release on the new ramp on the Friday beforehand. The wording about the new ramp’s opening said both “this weekend” and “Monday”, so it delivered a confusing message. I reached out to GDOT for clarification and did not get a response. In their defense, GDOT sometimes leaves a start time open-ended, because many factors can delay an opening or closure. But GDOT should have done more to make sure people got the clear message about this benchmark in its top road project.","_id":"UV353STOSZE2LOKSEG6LRKKM3U","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1602512008148,"content":"On top of the muddled message in a cluttered news cycle, commuters also complained of poor signage on GA-400/southbound. Aside from a couple of temporary electronic signs and one permanent one very close to the new ramp, drivers had little idea of the change. The purpose of the entire project is to eliminate many of the last minute weaves that cause extra delays. GDOT should consider (and likely is) overhead signs for ramps even earlier in this area. And as ramps permanently open in this area, painting some pavement shields on the lanes will be good indicators for drivers.","_id":"ACXUFJDQLFCQBM263A4XAGP6ZI","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1602512008149,"content":"The exit for the new GA-400/southbound flyover ramp to I-285/westbound will open adjacently to the new eastbound ramp before the end of this year, GDOT says. There is no exact date. So motorists need to plan their commutes ahead of time and check with 95.5 WSB and Channel 2 Action News for any big changes each morning. The WSB Traffic Team was all over this sudden ramp opening and got the word out often both on the air, on social media, and on the Triple Team Traffic Alerts App. Those that heard of the change were much less likely to miss their exit. 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Every so often they have to pace traffic to fill a hole that the constant grind of Atlanta traffic has opened. Most of these instances are random, but there never is a great time to fix them. Some potholes begin forming, but are small enough to see repairs wait until evenings or weekends. But when the holes open big enough to damage vehicles, crews shift into emergency mode and the repairs know no rush hour bounds.","_id":"S6T2E7X43JAF5ETW6FMVMO2WBA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Several such emergency repairs have created headaches for Atlanta commuters and two of them strangely didn’t stay fixed. The closures for the two unusual holes each took longer than the average emergency repair.","_id":"YL7WEKVFA5CAHITFNBD3JIZ2SQ","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"I-75/northbound in two different spots in Kennesaw has been a hot mess in this regard. Crews had to block four left lanes on I-75/northbound at I-575 on Monday, September, 14th, to fill a pothole. The repair, which started around 2 p.m. and lasted past 6 p.m., absolutely drilled I-75 back into Marietta. The simultaneous 18-car crash on I-285 in Sandy Springs overshadowed this, but the delays on I-75 were worse.","_id":"5APNZXZL5JGNDFDM7LFVBUKWSA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"But just past this initial road failure, there has been a nagging pothole I-75/northbound at Barrett Parkway that has seen extended repairs at least three times in the last two weeks. The hole has kept opening in the right lane just past the bridge where I-75 passes over Barrett Parkway, right where the pavement meets the grass.","_id":"YHDXXZFOLNDWDMCKEQNFZNFZ6Q","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"On Friday, September 25th, the crew had to close the right lane at 9 a.m. and had to work in that lane into Saturday. A compounding factor in that closure was President Trump’s flight into Dobbins AFB in Marietta and motorcade trip down to the Cobb Galleria. Fortunately, the motorcade closures and delays on I-75/northbound for the return trip to Dobbins did not reach far enough north to really combine with the pothole closure delays into Kennesaw.","_id":"7UDCGUY6BJCYFC77UIGZ4XXHII","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"But that hole opened again on Wednesday, September 30th concurrently with Vice President Pence’s Atlanta visit. Pence’s motorcade went from Dobbins, to an undisclosed Buckhead mansion, to the Cobb Galleria, and back to Dobbins, causing three waves of closures. About halfway through these proceedings, WSB Triple Team Traffic’s Mike Shields and I noticed the delays into Kennesaw again.","_id":"4KVUYPVNBZHCHBRKYWDLIBYIKA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"I confirmed with GDOT that the pothole indeed had reopened and crews had to block the right lane to repair. That lasted for a couple of hours and cleared just after I flew over it in the WSB Skycopter. But less than an hour later, Shields and our teammate Alex Williams noticed the pavement opening again. Williams let GDOT know what he was seeing on the WSB Jam Cam and a crew returned to service the void. This repeated problem wasn’t just a coincidence here.","_id":"ZZP4XG2JVRDG7A5IIAZAS2F3BY","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"“The shoulder had to be widened two inches in order to utilize it as a lane during bridge work in the center lane of the interstate. Using it for travel enabled us to maintain two lanes of travel without splitting traffic around both sides of the work zone,” GDOT District Engineer Kathy Zahul told the AJC and 95.5 WSB.","_id":"47O2RZB2HNEY3EJDRLUGMHYOHE","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"“During the widening, the contractor encountered concrete and a duct bank that houses the fiber for our ITS communications. We now believe water is being trapped between that duct bank and the widened section. When traffic runs on pavement that has water in the layers beneath it, the flexing causes movement that makes the asphalt develop cracks that get worse over time. The water is not noticeable on the surface, so the issue was hidden until recently,” Zahul explained. That fiber cable is what powers GDOT’s cameras.","_id":"4BX6XA4XUJC2JISBB7C7FI2ZIA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"This explanation accounts for the problems at Barrett Parkway. But the initial one back near I-575 was likely due to the typical aging of infrastructure, a far less unique issue. It has not opened up since its initial repair.","_id":"NFK4RJZ7LJELXMDYVJ23GISVOU","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Another pothole opened up at least twice in the right lane of the work zone on I-285/westbound (Outer Loop) west of Ashford Dunwoody Road in DeKalb County. Crews had to work there in extended bouts to fill another hole in a shoulder that construction lane-shifting made into a lane. The wear and tear on pavement not intended to be driven over that much is likely the cause. And the lane shifts over the seams in between lanes continue to open small potholes all through that area.","_id":"56PZJJN3AFG6JFCJJIVF77D6FQ","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"“Think about putting lightbulbs in your house: not one seems to burn out. They all burn out at once,” GDOT spokesperson Natalie Dale said, explaining that increased focus on the roads by work crews and an aging infrastructure all factor into why several failures have recently appeared. “In my many years at GDOT, it’s sort of ironic that it happens that you see. Bad things happen in threes.”","_id":"NUX2E5TFURDUZNLUEGI42HHF54","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Dale encouraged the motoring public to help the state fix these holes even faster. “If anyone sees anything, we want to them to dial 5-1-1 to report conditions on our roadways.”","_id":"FDFDQONCG5HUZGT2TIYIHGAXMU","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"We also encourage all of you to call our WSB Traffic Center with an easy push of the button on our WSB Radio App or our Triple Team Traffic Alerts App. In fact, go ahead and save this number: 404-897-7358. Outside of GDOT or an area 911 center, we are Atlanta’s only 24-Hour Traffic Center.","_id":"Y5ZTCFM4NBHMVJ7CP4JPS2BSEY","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"A freak instance, combined with some extra scrutiny, aging infrastructure, and bad luck have all factored into the seeming increase in potholes on the Atlanta freeways. The only thing drivers can do is keep their eyes open for the problems and remain patient in the delays behind the closures.","_id":"KEF3QT57ARCU7F6LLM6WZECTDE","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"content":"Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on 95.5 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also hosts a traffic podcast with Smilin' Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. 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There have been several gnarly wrecks, such as the recent 18-vehicle melee on I-285 that we covered last week. Rain and speed, combined with the slowly-increasing traffic volume all hours of the day, have made the perfect recipe for crashed-car casseroles. And another trend continues in relation to this: increasing numbers of traffic cones at cleanups.","_id":"CQOBZXLCFZGKNKXTEDG3T4LYUY","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1601230190479,"content":"From our view in the WSB Skycopter and on the WSB Jam Cams, we repeatedly see the slanted wedges of traffic cones at some crash and road work scenes. Those safe zones have seemingly gotten bigger in the past couple of years and maybe even more so during the pandemic. Downsides of a larger safety zone include the imprint of an incident being larger and clearing it taking longer, since the HERO operators have to remove so many cones.","_id":"HIBV6QNQ6RB5LLF2757AHSEYKM","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1601230190480,"content":"But drivers often have their own bad and dangerous habits to blame for crash scenes taking up more room and longer to clear. Tragically, construction worker Martin Rivera lost his life on I-75/northbound in Marietta on Saturday, September 12th, when a car struck him and threw him into traffic. Another car hit him and stopped. The one that initially hit him left the scene and police arrested the driver over a week later. Rivera was setting up construction signs on the shoulder of the interstate. Rivera was not even in a travel lane when he got hit. 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are becoming more widespread these days, as is the crash count and the undue amount of wrecks in the backup of initial ones. But rarely do we see the melee that broke out last Monday on I-285/eastbound (Inner Loop) just west of New Northside/Powers Ferry (Exit 22) in Sandy Springs. After heavy rain had plagued the Perimeter highway, a serious wreck shut down all lanes. As passersby noted and as the WSB Traffic Team saw from our Skycopter and cameras, the crash involved 18 vehicles. This would take a while.","_id":"GFU6FXL7TNHN7IQOIFBJVVD3LA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1600457295720,"content":"“When the officers arrived, it was complete chaos,” Sandy Springs PD PIO Sergeant Salvador Ortega told the AJC and 95.5 WSB. “We had cars all over the roadway. We had an overturned vehicle.” Ortega noted that this crash broke loose at 4 p.m. and in the rain. Not a good recipe.","_id":"SNEAJ6M2UBCKTFSMID7ERAA7PE","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1600457295721,"content":"“The vehicle that caused this was driving a little bit too fast. He hydroplaned, lost control, and he flipped. Other vehicles behind him tried to avoid him and then that’s when they started crashing with each other.” Luckily, Ortega said, the unusually large crash did not cause major injuries.","_id":"OEEMNUOGR5DIFDQZN2XDAQM2TU","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1600457295722,"content":"Ortega said that many factors led to this calamitous, chain-reaction wreck. But many wrecks have some of these characteristics and do not lead to a dozen-and-a-half-car pileup. 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Drivers were urged to avoid the area completely and residents were encouraged to shelter in place, the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.","type":"oembed_response","subtype":"twitter","_id":"MJQBJM5HYNF3TMRWRMFV255NBI","raw_oembed":"url":"https://twitter.com/mckayWSB/status/1305464571898007553","author_name":"Mark McKay","author_url":"https://twitter.com/mckayWSB","html":"

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PM drive. Good ol' retro gridlock returned to Atlanta’s freeways, driven by the pre-Labor Day mass exodus. Since the start of the pandemic, the average Atlanta commute has been lighter, as we have noted here many times. But the sheer volume that has returned to the freeways gets highlighted when incidents block lanes.And marquee traffic issues - ones that block multiple lanes for extended durations - cause similar traffic jams as they did before drivers' COVID-19 routine changes. The punchline for that first Friday in September, however, wasn’t about wrecks. It was about the volume, which made for the worst hour since March..","_id":"BAOYO64SNFHBLKLGRKHMCRMLLI","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1600012141373,"content":"Delays started popping up around town at lunchtime, which is typical for Fridays and even more so on Fridays before long weekends. Before 2 p.m., I-75 was in horrible shape in Henry County with 15-30 minute delays in each direction between Locust Grove and Stockbridge. There were several wrecks on that stretch that made matters worse, but the delays on I-75 were expected and were similar to those seen on the Friday before Memorial Day.","_id":"TZVHGQDUIZDUBNLT4SZGB3TDGI","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1600012141374,"content":"I-75 south side delays were not surprising, but the amount and distance of other backups were. I-285 truly looked like the rush hours of the past. Late afternoon trips on the Outer Loop, I-285/westbound/southbound from GA-400 to I-20 in Fulton County were over 30 minutes and not because of wrecks. Drivers on I-285/eastbound/southbound, the Inner Loop, from Dunwoody to I-20 in DeKalb also needed at least that long for that whole trip. Those levels have not been seen concurrently and absent of wrecks in six months.","_id":"3UGJ2CA7JFEA5KHEYH2RNIJWEE","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1600012141375,"content":"I-75/northbound in Cobb had lots of help from the tolled Express Lanes, which debuted just after Labor Day two years ago. Its delays weren’t extreme, but certainly were worse than normal and there were also some inbound backups from Acworth, a common sighting on vacation travel days.","_id":"5M27LERUDBDL7F53I4L3SIHMXQ","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1600012141376,"content":"GA-400 was slower than normal in both directions near I-285 in Sandy Springs, but really jammed north of Cumming with vehicles Lake Lanier-bound. I-85 got stacked early to and from Norcross, with problems each way near Jimmy Carter Boulevard (Exit 99). And even when those cleared, I-85/northbound traffic was as slow, if not slower than it has been since before spring.","_id":"4GMSPNGWTZB5RGP44WTNVNJFQA","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1600012141377,"content":"I-75/85 (the Downtown Connector) also had its worst backups since March with southbound slowing like old times the entire way from Buckhead to I-20 and, at one point, northbound slow from Highway 166 to Midtown. I-20 was also a big, slow beast in DeKalb, with jams both ways between Lithonia and I-285. And I-20, the West Freeway, was very heavy from I-285 into Douglas County. The eastbound side was even more congested than normal in those right lanes connecting with I-285 in Fulton County.","_id":"Z22XSXXMNFEDJJKMIHGPHM7WL4","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1600012141378,"content":"But outside of all these outlier delays were, too, a litany of wrecks. Games of bumper tag broke out left and right during this confluence of travel. The 2 and 3 p.m. hours spit out so many problems that WSB Triple Team Traffic colleague Mike Shields and I had to do triage to both broadcast and digitally plot them. This was a stressful handful!","_id":"5WDJ5Z4KXBGVFKFY7ZYL7CWGQ4","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1600012141379,"content":"An oil spill before 2 p.m. shut down Highway 316/eastbound at Cedars Road in Dacula. Two wrecks in Henry and Butts counties made I-75/northbound even worse below Locust Grove. Multiple wrecks on I-85 tattooed it with backups in both directions between Braselton and Jefferson. An I-20/eastbound crash near Lee Road blocked multiple lanes and jammed the ride from Arbor Place Mall, flanked with just annoying onlooker backups on I-20/westbound. And the “garden-variety” wrecks all over the packed roads closer to Downtown Atlanta just exacerbated an already throbbing wound.","_id":"XJJ5INYJHRA7XLZV2ZYSC5MIFM","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1600012141380,"content":"So what are the takeaways here? Much like we covered in this column two weeks ago, Atlanta traffic still can reach the same levels of nostalgic ugliness. Travel conditions just need an accelerant, such as rain, a holiday travel push, or even other wrecks. And we as drivers seem to be responding poorly when these backups do unfold. Delays seem more likely lately to trigger more wrecks and driving these days just simply seems to be less refined. So we all need to take a deep breath, put our eyes on the roads and hands upon the wheel, and drive deliberately, emotions aside.","_id":"QFADRCP6J5GZNKRA4AJEMBEDKE","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1600012141381,"content":"Overall, Atlanta traffic isn’t routinely as bad as it once was, but it can be bad once as it ever was.","_id":"BBK6EOZJ3NHEZJWERVF6T2G53I","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1600012141382,"content":"Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on 95.5 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also hosts a traffic podcast with Smilin' Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at [email protected] .","_id":"MPYRMVP3LJE4XBTXQOCI7KSAKQ","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1600012141383,"content":"
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Based on the preliminary investigation, Young said the man may have been homeless.","_id":"Z3HLYV3D3FCVDJI7OTL5UUU57M","type":"raw_html","additional_properties":"_id":"OECIVQIMV5FNVL6JI44AMGSLFI","comments":[],"content":"","_id":"3JNNQT2EYFDSZGHQV5R2HNGPDI","type":"text","additional_properties":"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1599774408443,"content":"GSP troopers shut down the exit ramp while they investigated the crash. 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George M. Washington Jr., the man suspected in the stabbing, was arrested at the scene and charged with murder. 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