• GDOT suspending construction along interstates ahead of Florence

    By: Tom Jones

    Updated:

    ATLANTA - Construction has been suspended for now on state highways near South Carolina. Drivers will also see more of the HERO-type units in case they break down or need assistance, the Georgia Department of Transportation said Wednesday.

    Daniel Norton told Channel 2’s Tom Jones there has never been a storm that made him leave Ocean Isle, North Carolina, where he lives.

    “This is the first storm I've ever left down there,” Norton said. “They (are) talking about this one going to be worse than anyone we've had before.”

    Norton packed up his wife and their pet dog and hit the road, headed to Atlanta. He said the drive here was agonizing.

    “Probably three or four wrecks on the way. Traffic backed up,” Norton said. 

    GDOT said it knows evacuees are headed to the Atlanta metro and the roads will be congested.
    So, the department is being proactive. 

    “One of the steps we have taken is we've suspended our construction in the I-20 west corridor towards South Carolina, and I-95 and I-16,” said Natalie Dale, spokeswoman for GDOT.

    The state told Jones it has also increased the number of HERO-type units to help motorists who break down or have accidents in that area.

    Locally, GDOT has crews sweeping drains on the downtown connector in advance of the expected storm.

    “Because of the way the connector is built, if there is any kind of trash or debris, it's a low-lying flow to those drains, that’s when we see some of those backups some of those floodings that we’ve seen in the downtown connector,” Dale told Jones. 

    Norton is riding out the storm at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, which has opened its campgrounds to evacuees.

    “I think that's great. I really do,” Norton told Jones. 

    GDOT said it will be monitoring the storm to see what other adjustments it needs to make to keep the roads clear.

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