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Posted: January 11, 2011 11:00 a.m.

State road-clearing efforts get a boost

ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Transportation is bringing in crews from central Georgia to help deal with the ice and snow that continue to coat highways in the Atlanta area.

Spokeswoman Jill Goldberg said crews are closing all entrance ramps to Interstate 285 near I-75 starting this morning and will move east spreading gravel, salt and de-icer on roadways. Motorists already on the interstate will be allowed to stay there or to exit, but no cars will be permitted to enter the interstate.

She said the convoy of DOT crews, police and state troopers will continue until the road is clear of ice.

The biggest problems are in the south end of metro Atlanta, Goldberg said.

A storm that began Sunday night dumped up to 7 inches of snow in north Georgia, and temperatures remained below freezing Tuesday.

Goldberg said spreading material on highways is a slow process made worse by refreezing. "We're treating the same areas over and over," she said.

She said the highways in the Macon area and other locations south of metro Atlanta struck by the snowstorm have been cleared, freeing crews from those areas to head north.

The DOT says jackknifed tractor-trailers on Atlanta-area interstate ramps have made it difficult for their trucks to get onto the freeways and treat them. Goldberg and Georgia Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Crystal Paulk-Buchanan said tractor-trailer drivers were being urged to avoid the freeways.

Crews were battling at least an inch of ice on metro Atlanta interstates, and a portion of I-285 on Atlanta's south end was closed early Tuesday because of icy conditions.

Paulk-Buchanan said power outages because of the storm have been limited, with about 500 customers without electricity in the Augusta area Tuesday morning.


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