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Posted: July 31, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Construction during sales tax holiday

Parts of Newton County’s stretch of Interstate 20 will close to traffic this weekend, one of just a handful of road construction projects underway statewide to not be shut down for the tax free weekend.

The Georgia Department of Transportation plans to suspend construction lane closures on all interstates and major state highways from 8 a.m. Friday through 10 p.m. Saturday. That applies everywhere “within five miles of a shopping mall or major shopping district.”

Which we aren’t.

The Newton County section of I-20 “is not within five miles of a major shopping district and the closures are in the EB (eastbound) lanes, moving away from shopping districts,” DOT press secretary David Spear said in an email Thursday.

“In a broader context, each contractor is given a definitive completion date and can incur liquidated damages if they don’t meet those dates, so it is incumbent upon us to give them every reasonable opportunity to work to meet their target dates,” Spear added.

The I-20 resurfacing project stretches from the intersection of state highways 20 and 138 in Rockdale County eat to Alcovy Road and will begin Friday night, “weather permitting,” according to a DOT press release.

The two left lanes on westbound I-20 from Almon Road to 20/138 will be closed from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday. Crews will remove old asphalt and replace it with new. The project’s total cost is $11.5 million, and should be completed by the end of the year with crews working only on weekends and at night.

Also, the left lane of the bridge on I-20 eastbound between mile markers 92 and 95 will be closed from noon Sunday through noon Friday, weather permitting. Heavy equipment will frequently be present, and a flagman may be present to direct traffic. Expect delays.

But if you get out this weekend, expect savings, too.

The tax-free “weekend” technically begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday and ends at midnight Saturday. Some items – often strange items – will be excluded from the 4 percent state sales taxes, plus all local sales taxes. The Georgia Retail Association estimates that families with children in grades K-12 will spend about $670 this year on clothes, shoes, electronics and school supplies.

In general, items that qualify for tax-free status include clothing and shoes that cost less than $100; computers; and crayons, pencils and other common school supplies.

The exempt list includes some head-scratchers: “antique” clothing, baby clothes, suspenders, capes, costumes (except masks sold separately), adult diapers, garters, leg warmers, bow ties, ice skates, “vests,” computers but not cell phones, scanners but not surge protectors, web cameras but not TVs, book bags but not briefcases, highlighters but not medical supplies, scissors, pencil sharpeners, and girdles.

Items that will still be taxed this weekend include: baby bibs, corsages, cosmetics, cuff links, diaper bags, sunglasses (non-prescription), fanny packs, hair bows, handbags, hard hats, jewelry, life jackets, swimming goggles, sewing materials, umbrellas, wallets, watches, wigs, batteries, CDs and DVDs, copy machines, digital cameras, game controllers, MP3 players, projectors, and envelopes.

For more information on Georgia’s tax-free holiday, visit etax.dor.ga.gov online.

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