From the Georgia Department of Transportation at 7:58 p.m. Wednesday:
ATLANTA – Overnight driving in all but the most dire emergency is strongly discouraged by the Georgia Department of Transportation as conditions will be ideal for the formation of treacherous and difficult-to-see black ice. Periodic bands of snow, sleet and freezing rain are expected to fall throughout central and north Georgia throughout the night while temperatures are predicted to remain below freezing. Those conditions, combined with darkness, make for extremely dangerous driving conditions. Georgia DOT continues to urge the public to avoid all but emergency travel until at least mid-day Thursday. Snow accumulations in North Georgia continue to pose driving hazards there. In a wide area across the state between a line just north of Columbus, Macon, Warner Robins and Statesboro and extending northward to as far above Interstate Highway 20 as Athens, significant icing is occurring. A State of Emergency remains in effect for 91 counties in this region.
DOT Communications Director Karlene Barron cautions that while the Department is utilizing all of its assets and available personnel to treat roadways, black ice at night often is only detected too late. “It is almost impossible to spot at night and once most drivers encounter a patch, it is almost equally impossible to successfully negotiate it. Everyone will be better served if they can simply stay home this evening and not travel until well into the day Thursday when temperatures are expected to climb back above freezing.”
As of Wednesday evening, perilous roadway conditions exist in Forsyth, Gwinnett and Hall Counties. These are some of the trouble spots:
• SR 369 from SR 9 to SR 400 is closed due to a tree and power lines across the road, with no estimated clearance time.
• Reports of icing on I-985 northbound and southbound from I-85 in Gwinnett past exit 24/SR 369 in Gainesville.
• Reports of icing on Interstate 85 northbound and southbound exit 137/SR 11/US 129 in Jackson County through Banks County to Exit 154/SR 63/Martin Bridge in Franklin County.
“Avoid these routes while our crews work diligently to break through the ice and can improve conditions on these roadways. Please do not multiply the hazards by driving unless it is an emergency situation,” asks Bayne Smith, Georgia DOT District Engineer.