GDOT Crews Working Hard to Remove Roadway Debris
(ATLANTA, GA) – In the aftermath of Irma, Georgia DOT personnel have been working since the storm passed through the state to clear debris and ensure safe and passable interstates and state routes. Following the storm, more than 1,100 incidents of roadway closures were reported. Currently, fewer than 100 remaining roadway closures exist on state routes. Today, nearly 1,000 maintenance and construction forces continue to work to ensure all interstates and state routes are open and remain open.
Following safety inspections by GDOT bridge assessment teams of 49 impacted state bridges in coastal Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal today lifted the mandatory evacuation order for Georgia’s six coastal counties. This executive order allows local authorities to provide guidance and determine when citizens may return home. Residents are urged to check with local officials prior to getting on the road.
While the interstates and major state routes are open, there is still a large amount of debris with downed trees and power lines on some state routes and local roads that is impacting travel. It is important that power crews, emergency personnel and multi-agency strike forces are able to do their work. Therefore, Georgia DOT continues to caution evacuees to avoid travel, but if they must travel, to use extreme caution.
“An issue that is a major concern are the 250 malfunctioning traffic signals across the state, caused by both storm damage and power outages,” said Georgia DOT Commissioner Russell R. McMurry. “Our crews are making quick progress on replacement and repair, and power crews are working hard to restore power to affected areas. But we caution everyone on the roadway to treat intersections with malfunctioning signals as a four-way stop.”
Across the state, 22 bridge inspection teams are currently conducting inspections and ensuring the safety of our bridges, with 10 teams working in South Georgia alone. Currently, only the Sidney Lanier and Talmadge bridges remain closed and are being inspected today.
Current traffic trends indicate evacuees from South Georgia and Florida are headed back home. Motorists are experiencing extreme delays on I-75 southbound from Atlanta, where traffic is currently more than double the normal volume, a trend that began around 5:00 a.m. As a result, Georgia DOT has deployed a total of 20 HERO and CHAMP operators between Atlanta and the Georgia-Florida line to help facilitate the flow of traffic by assisting motorists when needed.
“This equals one unit approximately every 10-20 miles and is quadruple the usual number of operators there. These units are complementing the work of our maintenance crews and the multi-agency strike teams,” Commissioner McMurry added.
Georgia DOT cautions residents, if you must travel:
- Watch out for downed limbs, trees and power lines on the roadways.
- Treat a non-working traffic signal as a four-way stop.
- If you must travel, wait until daylight and use extreme caution on roadways.
- Do not drive onto roadways completely covered with moving water; be cognizant of possible damage caused by intermittent flooding.
- If a barricade is in place, it is there for your safety. DO NOT drive around it.
- Motorists may encounter gas shortages in some parts of Georgia and Florida. Use the Gas Buddy app to find current information on availability.
If you must travel, exercise patience and stay informed on roadway conditions with the following resources:
- For current roadway conditions, or to report roadway conditions: 511ga.org or dial 511
- For roadway information and evacuation routes, visit Georgia DOT at dot.ga.gov
- For emergency information and updates: GEMA/HS at gema.ga.gov
- For information on emergency shelters, visit American Red Cross at www.redcross.org
- For news alerts and information from throughout the state, visit www.GPBnews.org
- For a HERO or CHAMP Operator: Dial 511 and request assistance