How WSB Traffic covered Zeta’s effect on Atlanta

Casting that wide net brought in literally dozens of storm-related traffic issues. As winds howled at 50 mph and buckets of rain poured, pools of standing water formed and, of course, wrecks started proliferating. Trees and wires came down knocking out power and blocking roads. “We had our share of huge trees fall on the interstates: one in West Atlanta on I-20/westbound knocking out two right lanes at MLK Junior Drive and one that fell on at least one vehicle on I-985/nb near Spout Springs Road in Hall County,” McKay explained. “The majority of the trees came crashing down in neighborhoods and subdivisions all across North Georgia. It made getting around challenging for a couple of days in some instances.” In fact, Cherokee County had at least three roads impacted with utility work at least four days after the storm.

McKay finally got a birds eye view from the Skycopter of the swaths of problems the next day. “The morning after the storm in the WSB SkyCopter told the story of the hundreds of thousands who were without power. Neighborhoods that we fly over every day were dark. No house lights, no street lights, no traffic signals. It was a patchwork of the haves and the have nots, with some neighborhoods looking normal in the predawn hours and the others hardly recognizable in the complete darkness.”

That phenomenon, in some ways, made covering the storm more challenging. There was widespread damage in pockets – no one area truly got hit the hardest. Everywhere got a little bit. And just as with any storm, there was no time to gather and announce every single road affected. But Ashley Frasca, Mark Arum, Veronica Harrell, Mike Shields, Alex Williams, Zach Grizzle, Jonathan Dockery, and David Hubbard hustled hard to find as many issues as possible and keep a running list on wsbradio.com and our Triple Team Traffic Alerts App.

And power crews were busy for days, even relying on help from other states, to get homes, businesses, and intersections back online. “Hats off to the power crews who are based here in Georgia and those who came in from adjoining states to help clear debris and get the lights back on,” McKay said. “On Monday, 11/2, we flew over what looked to be a staging area for those crews in the parking lot of the Atlanta Civic Center. It was a reassuring sight from 700 feet up that teamwork helped get Georgia back on its feet after the storm.”

Georgia could very well need another assist this coming week, as Tropical Storm Eta could track toward North Georgia. First responders, power crews, our WSB Radio and WSB-TV meteorologists, and the WSB Traffic Team will be ready.

Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on 95.5 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also hosts a traffic podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at [email protected] .

What you see is the aftermath of the wreck at 316 and Patrick Mill. What you don’t see is the brave men and women of...

Posted by Barrow County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, November 4, 2020

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The AJC’s David Wickert reported from a recent GDOT board meeting that 1,202 people have died on Georgia’s roads, compared with two less at the same time a year ago."},{"_id":"KFJPBG6JHJG5FI5ACV6UYNSD7Y","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“It’s shocking and it’s really disappointing when we look at numbers year over year,” GDOT’s Natalie Dale said on a recent WSB Traffic Podcast. “We have to take into account that there is a three month lag in reporting.”"},{"_id":"2SREIUXPM5F3ZEFD3YEA2RF4ME","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"So the number is already higher now and will likely continue to rise, especially now that traffic volume has nearly returned to normal. “That’s surprising, because we have spent the bulk of 2020 with a reduction of volume - a reduction in the congestion,” Dale said, echoing the conundrum."},{"_id":"PU5UV37SYFEPDHLQAGSLGF5VUY","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"The real question therein is how does this happen?"},{"_id":"PIC4DQGTZJA4BP5OOSNTBPNLSA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“What we see is...excessive speeds in the general purpose lanes,” Dale said. “Just because you could go fast when the roads were [wide] open during COVID, doesn’t mean you should. That unfortunately was costing people their lives.”"},{"_id":"Y57R52T6QBBT5LKOBIHUAVUZEY","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"There was a harrowing trend on these newfangled empty roads some six months back. Local law enforcement saw their number of triple digit speeding tickets soar. And we on the WSB Traffic Team counted far less fender benders, but saw a stark rise in the number of bad wrecks."},{"_id":"HS3EZUHT3ZDQLMVSO5IO363LEQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"And some haven’t taken the lead from their soles even now that traffic levels have almost returned. This is leading to some horrific crashes in backups, as those carrying high speeds cannot stop in enough time for the queue."},{"_id":"3PIIR6ZVZRDILB3A3SROHYFQDM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"There has also been a proliferation of drag racers and groups that shut down streets to drag race. These stunts put participants and innocent bystanders in danger. And that kind of recklessness certainly can program those same drivers to drive that way in busier conditions."},{"_id":"QAZDPLEJJJCXNIJPDVZKQ2P2MQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"GDOT cannot enforce the law. That is the job of the police. But the state’s transportation officials are not impressed at all with the racing trend. “We build the roads and we want people to respect them,” Dale said, adding, “It’s disrespectful to our roads. It’s disrespectful to taxpayers who are building these roads and maintaining these roads - and our crews.”"},{"_id":"UD5OEEHIERCLBLVH7W36BX6VME","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"But speeding and other reckless driving are not the only factors in Georgia’s surprising highway death rate. Many in such wrecks are not wearing seatbelts. “That is the one of the most shocking things that I see when I look at these [fatality reports],” Dale said. “And in 2020, there’s just not an excuse for that. If you’re getting in a car, whether it is in the front of in the back, whether you’re in your own car, whether you’re in an Uber or a Lyft, you need to buckle up. Because it doesn’t even have to have to do with anything that is going on in your vehicle. There can be an irresponsible driver who hits your car and could cause devastation based on the fact that you were or were not wearing your seatbelt.”"},{"_id":"FRLWZBWIPNEOPE5HEMNDK75YY4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Dale and GDOT aren’t only passionate about encouraging others to click the buckles. “We’ve even launched an internal campaign with our own employees to remind them that if they are out on a job site, if they are in a state vehicle, if they’re in a GDOT vehicle, HEROs, anyone - we want our employees to be safe. Buckle up! We want for our own employees what we want for everyone.”"},{"_id":"KKI5XNKBHBENVI72KVDY3UCG7I","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Many factors beyond our control make driving risky. But we can control how fast we drive, how respectfully we maneuver, and whether or not we wear seat belts. Dale summed it up very simply, “Bottom line: we want people to go home alive to their families.”"},{"_id":"YEYEQL6PZVCPXLFZQFC7V2TK24","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on 95.5 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also hosts a traffic podcast with Smilin' Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. 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But a large such project has been churning for three years and continued to during the shut down. Now traffic volume is back close to pre-shutdown levels, again showcasing the need for the big enhancements being built in the Transform I-285/GA-400 project."},{"_id":"QOBKXPSMBZE3BAV2BNGP27PJ4M","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“In my lifetime, as an Atlantan, this is probably the second-largest project and it is really exciting,” morning drive WSB Triple Team Traffic anchor Ashley Frasca said on the latest WSB Traffic Podcast. Frasca said the reversible Express Lanes next to I-75 on both sides of town have been the largest road project she has seen."},{"_id":"27XXCN4WFNDCFFZMTPNA2K6ZDE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“I’m always warning [motorists], especially in pre-dawn hours, that construction crews are always in and out of those travel lanes. It’s an active construction zone, as far as I know, 24/7,”  Triple Team Traffic morning drive Skycopter anchor Smilin' Mark McKay said on the podcast. “We’ve encountered some very unusual delays at very unusual times of the day.” McKay and the team specifically see surprise interruptions pace traffic to setup and break down lane closures. Motorists normally aren’t expecting shut downs in the wee hours of the morning and can get stuck, sometimes, for large blocks of time."},{"_id":"UCE3XZ4NZJHBXIXYGXTKJN556Y","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"But that frustrating phenomenon hasn’t been all that rare since serious work began on an expansion and re-working of the busy Sandy Springs interchange in February 2017. Crews are having to build entirely new flyover ramps, bridges, and CD ramps (to sequester exiting and entering traffic from the faster lanes), in midst of two booming freeways that are adjacent to bustling commercial and residential zones. And unlike the Express Lanes projects for the northwest and southern suburbs, workers are having to wedge these new features with little wiggle room to build. So interruptions happen."},{"_id":"EED4C3STO5HP5F6PDVHWWV72DY","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"And that is why this project is about a year behind schedule. Georgia Department of Transportation originally scheduled the completion for this December. The target is now December 2021."},{"_id":"MX64PJFZBBBUBESBCUVS65DT4Y","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“That is not something we take lightly. That is not something that really is long-term acceptable, as far as how we deliver projects,” GDOT spokesperson Natalie Dale shared on the same podcast. “This project has had its fair share of bumps in the road.”  Dale said that bad weather has slowed the timeline, but also, too, has the presence of underground water, gas, electrical, and cable lines. “When we get in the road to do a project and there are unmarked utilities, that can just throw a wrench.” This is another externality of working so tightly in a populated area."},{"_id":"RKCIZ4RIRVG2JDLWTHGOA6MY2E","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"But a positive aspect of the project’s delay has been the decision to go ahead and refurbish some bridges in the interchange. “We added scope to this project,” Dale said, explaining that they felt re-doing some bridges in the midst of the other closures would keep them from shutting them down after the main project ends. “You’re getting more bang for your buck, which adds a lengthening to the timeline.”"},{"_id":"KTFALPRHTFCU7KVOVPSIS2OKLI","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"One such bridge is Peachtree Dunwoody Road over I-285, which has been reduced from five lanes to three in the super busy “Pill Hill” area. “When that bridge opens up next year...you’ll get two lanes in each direction and a turn lane in each direction,” Dale explained."},{"_id":"7QLMRIRSNRGGVEUUXGDD7ZDL2Q","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"And as different parts of the project open at different times, they don’t always fit together perfectly. For example, one 95.5 WSB listener pointed out to us that the new GA-400/southbound flyover ramp to I-285/eastbound empties into the exit-only lane just before Ashford Dunwoody Road. That forces those drivers to have to jump out of that lane quickly, as others are moving into that lane to exit at Ashford Dunwoody. “The irony is, one of the main goals of the project is to reduce weaving.” Dale said that when the project ends that problem will be resolved."},{"_id":"DBPQZJOCHVECNFLVKKJJY5V54E","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Speaking of that new flyover ramp, we documented here how drivers got very confused a couple of weeks ago when the new GA-400/sb to I-285/eb opened and the old one closed without much fanfare or warning. GDOT sent out the press release on Friday, but they believe the decision to debut a new ramp on an early Monday morning was a misstep. “We absolutely - especially on this project - will do better to make sure people have ample warning of some of these milestones. Because we want to celebrate them just like y’all do.”"},{"_id":"D22PIBPT7RAC7BGGHLZI64IHHA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Dale explained this is different from the Express Lanes projects because those were entirely new systems and opened all at once. This I-285/GA-400 project involves a series of components tied into an open system, so they opened a new ramp and closed an old one, hence the confusion. “We’ve gone back to our contractor, our developer and said, ‘We missed the mark. This didn’t work.This is something that should have been celebrated and instead people were left scratching their heads.’”"},{"_id":"AV4GBIBJZZEFVIKUFQJO46CXWY","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Situations like ramps opening and closing can easily surprise Sandy Springs drivers and others passing through this zone. Folks also need to know that delays can pop up at any time, especially at night and on weekends. “We need [drivers] to stay prepared, because the more that they know - the more that we can communicate with them what’s going - the less of the inconvenience that their commute can become,” Dale said. Tune in on 95.5 WSB and Channel 2 Action News to plan your ride and run the Triple Team Traffic Alerts App on your phone to hear and see the latest closures."},{"_id":"FIJVZWK2BBEP3CTAQHMHGWRAM4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Dale also urged people to practice caution in the area. Crews often work very close to passing traffic. “Travel like someone you love works there.”"},{"_id":"JXXU4CMVCZFGXMZX74MZYQIBP4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"And once this project ends, GA-400 tolled Express Lanes construction begins in 2022, with I-285 Express Lanes work starting in 2023. So brace yourselves, this overhaul continues for the long haul. 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And then the traffic shifts back to the proper configuration at Highway 61/101/Villa Rica (Exit 24)."},{"_id":"N6BNO23DIRF3VPX4JBO5VGTKEY","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Drivers have a choice on I-20/eastbound near Highway 113/Temple (Exit 19): they can choose to carefully cross the median and use the makeshift, reversed I-20/westbound lane or they can head straight and stay in the regular I-20/eastbound lane. The WSB Traffic Team and I have noticed big time backups and crashes almost daily in this tricky five-mile stretch of Carroll County."},{"_id":"QR3TVVK75NAUVGFA2QHVA3HIMU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"With so many tractor trailers in this area and with such sweeping maneuvers necessary, the margin for error here is even lower than normal. And when crashes and stalls break out, there are even less lanes left open and smaller emergency lanes on which to clear problems. 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The wording about the new ramp’s opening said both “this weekend” and “Monday”, so it delivered a confusing message. I reached out to GDOT for clarification and did not get a response. In their defense, GDOT sometimes leaves a start time open-ended, because many factors can delay an opening or closure. But GDOT should have done more to make sure people got the clear message about this benchmark in its top road project."},{"_id":"UV353STOSZE2LOKSEG6LRKKM3U","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1602512008148},"content":"On top of the muddled message in a cluttered news cycle, commuters also complained of poor signage on GA-400/southbound. Aside from a couple of temporary electronic signs and one permanent one very close to the new ramp, drivers had little idea of the change. The purpose of the entire project is to eliminate many of the last minute weaves that cause extra delays. GDOT should consider (and likely is) overhead signs for ramps even earlier in this area. And as ramps permanently open in this area, painting some pavement shields on the lanes will be good indicators for drivers."},{"_id":"ACXUFJDQLFCQBM263A4XAGP6ZI","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1602512008149},"content":"The exit for the new GA-400/southbound flyover ramp to I-285/westbound will open adjacently to the new eastbound ramp before the end of this year, GDOT says. There is no exact date. So motorists need to plan their commutes ahead of time and check with 95.5 WSB and Channel 2 Action News for any big changes each morning. The WSB Traffic Team was all over this sudden ramp opening and got the word out often both on the air, on social media, and on the Triple Team Traffic Alerts App. Those that heard of the change were much less likely to miss their exit. People have adjusted quickly and the interchange has functioned more normally since."},{"_id":"TMLD7S2XKZAV3MDEKLPUW6SWVE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1602512008150},"content":"Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on 95.5 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also hosts a traffic podcast with Smilin' Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. 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Every so often they have to pace traffic to fill a hole that the constant grind of Atlanta traffic has opened. Most of these instances are random, but there never is a great time to fix them. Some potholes begin forming, but are small enough to see repairs wait until evenings or weekends. But when the holes open big enough to damage vehicles, crews shift into emergency mode and the repairs know no rush hour bounds."},{"_id":"S6T2E7X43JAF5ETW6FMVMO2WBA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Several such emergency repairs have created headaches for Atlanta commuters and two of them strangely didn’t stay fixed. The closures for the two unusual holes each took longer than the average emergency repair."},{"_id":"YL7WEKVFA5CAHITFNBD3JIZ2SQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"I-75/northbound in two different spots in Kennesaw has been a hot mess in this regard. Crews had to block four left lanes on I-75/northbound at I-575 on Monday, September, 14th, to fill a pothole. The repair, which started around 2 p.m. and lasted past 6 p.m., absolutely drilled I-75 back into Marietta. The simultaneous 18-car crash on I-285 in Sandy Springs overshadowed this, but the delays on I-75 were worse."},{"_id":"5APNZXZL5JGNDFDM7LFVBUKWSA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"But just past this initial road failure, there has been a nagging pothole I-75/northbound at Barrett Parkway that has seen extended repairs at least three times in the last two weeks. The hole has kept opening in the right lane just past the bridge where I-75 passes over Barrett Parkway, right where the pavement meets the grass."},{"_id":"YHDXXZFOLNDWDMCKEQNFZNFZ6Q","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"On Friday, September 25th, the crew had to close the right lane at 9 a.m. and had to work in that lane into Saturday. A compounding factor in that closure was President Trump’s flight into Dobbins AFB in Marietta and motorcade trip down to the Cobb Galleria. Fortunately, the motorcade closures and delays on I-75/northbound for the return trip to Dobbins did not reach far enough north to really combine with the pothole closure delays into Kennesaw."},{"_id":"7UDCGUY6BJCYFC77UIGZ4XXHII","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"But that hole opened again on Wednesday, September 30th concurrently with Vice President Pence’s Atlanta visit. Pence’s motorcade went from Dobbins, to an undisclosed Buckhead mansion, to the Cobb Galleria, and back to Dobbins, causing three waves of closures. About halfway through these proceedings, WSB Triple Team Traffic’s Mike Shields and I noticed the delays into Kennesaw again."},{"_id":"4KVUYPVNBZHCHBRKYWDLIBYIKA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"I confirmed with GDOT that the pothole indeed had reopened and crews had to block the right lane to repair. That lasted for a couple of hours and cleared just after I flew over it in the WSB Skycopter. But less than an hour later, Shields and our teammate Alex Williams noticed the pavement opening again. Williams let GDOT know what he was seeing on the WSB Jam Cam and a crew returned to service the void. This repeated problem wasn’t just a coincidence here."},{"_id":"ZZP4XG2JVRDG7A5IIAZAS2F3BY","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“The shoulder had to be widened two inches in order to utilize it as a lane during bridge work in the center lane of the interstate. Using it for travel enabled us to maintain two lanes of travel without splitting traffic around both sides of the work zone,” GDOT District Engineer Kathy Zahul told the AJC and 95.5 WSB."},{"_id":"47O2RZB2HNEY3EJDRLUGMHYOHE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“During the widening, the contractor encountered concrete and a duct bank that houses the fiber for our ITS communications. We now believe water is being trapped between that duct bank and the widened section. When traffic runs on pavement that has water in the layers beneath it, the flexing causes movement that makes the asphalt develop cracks that get worse over time. The water is not noticeable on the surface, so the issue was hidden until recently,” Zahul explained. That fiber cable is what powers GDOT’s cameras."},{"_id":"4BX6XA4XUJC2JISBB7C7FI2ZIA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"This explanation accounts for the problems at Barrett Parkway. But the initial one back near I-575 was likely due to the typical aging of infrastructure, a far less unique issue. It has not opened up since its initial repair."},{"_id":"NFK4RJZ7LJELXMDYVJ23GISVOU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Another pothole opened up at least twice in the right lane of the work zone on I-285/westbound (Outer Loop) west of Ashford Dunwoody Road in DeKalb County. Crews had to work there in extended bouts to fill another hole in a shoulder that construction lane-shifting made into a lane. The wear and tear on pavement not intended to be driven over that much is likely the cause. And the lane shifts over the seams in between lanes continue to open small potholes all through that area."},{"_id":"56PZJJN3AFG6JFCJJIVF77D6FQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“Think about putting lightbulbs in your house: not one seems to burn out. They all burn out at once,” GDOT spokesperson Natalie Dale said, explaining that increased focus on the roads by work crews and an aging infrastructure all factor into why several failures have recently appeared. “In my many years at GDOT, it’s sort of ironic that it happens that you see. Bad things happen in threes.”"},{"_id":"NUX2E5TFURDUZNLUEGI42HHF54","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Dale encouraged the motoring public to help the state fix these holes even faster. “If anyone sees anything, we want to them to dial 5-1-1 to report conditions on our roadways.”"},{"_id":"FDFDQONCG5HUZGT2TIYIHGAXMU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"We also encourage all of you to call our WSB Traffic Center with an easy push of the button on our WSB Radio App or our Triple Team Traffic Alerts App. In fact, go ahead and save this number: 404-897-7358. Outside of GDOT or an area 911 center, we are Atlanta’s only 24-Hour Traffic Center."},{"_id":"Y5ZTCFM4NBHMVJ7CP4JPS2BSEY","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"A freak instance, combined with some extra scrutiny, aging infrastructure, and bad luck have all factored into the seeming increase in potholes on the Atlanta freeways. The only thing drivers can do is keep their eyes open for the problems and remain patient in the delays behind the closures."},{"_id":"KEF3QT57ARCU7F6LLM6WZECTDE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on 95.5 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also hosts a traffic podcast with Smilin' Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. 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PM drive. Good ol' retro gridlock returned to Atlanta’s freeways, driven by the pre-Labor Day mass exodus. Since the start of the pandemic, the average Atlanta commute has been lighter, as we have noted here many times. But the sheer volume that has returned to the freeways gets highlighted when incidents block lanes.And marquee traffic issues - ones that block multiple lanes for extended durations - cause similar traffic jams as they did before drivers' COVID-19 routine changes. The punchline for that first Friday in September, however, wasn’t about wrecks. It was about the volume, which made for the worst hour since March.."},{"_id":"BAOYO64SNFHBLKLGRKHMCRMLLI","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1600012141373},"content":"Delays started popping up around town at lunchtime, which is typical for Fridays and even more so on Fridays before long weekends. Before 2 p.m., I-75 was in horrible shape in Henry County with 15-30 minute delays in each direction between Locust Grove and Stockbridge. There were several wrecks on that stretch that made matters worse, but the delays on I-75 were expected and were similar to those seen on the Friday before Memorial Day."},{"_id":"TZVHGQDUIZDUBNLT4SZGB3TDGI","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1600012141374},"content":"I-75 south side delays were not surprising, but the amount and distance of other backups were. I-285 truly looked like the rush hours of the past. Late afternoon trips on the Outer Loop, I-285/westbound/southbound from GA-400 to I-20 in Fulton County were over 30 minutes and not because of wrecks. Drivers on I-285/eastbound/southbound, the Inner Loop, from Dunwoody to I-20 in DeKalb also needed at least that long for that whole trip. Those levels have not been seen concurrently and absent of wrecks in six months."},{"_id":"3UGJ2CA7JFEA5KHEYH2RNIJWEE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1600012141375},"content":"I-75/northbound in Cobb had lots of help from the tolled Express Lanes, which debuted just after Labor Day two years ago. Its delays weren’t extreme, but certainly were worse than normal and there were also some inbound backups from Acworth, a common sighting on vacation travel days."},{"_id":"5M27LERUDBDL7F53I4L3SIHMXQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1600012141376},"content":"GA-400 was slower than normal in both directions near I-285 in Sandy Springs, but really jammed north of Cumming with vehicles Lake Lanier-bound. I-85 got stacked early to and from Norcross, with problems each way near Jimmy Carter Boulevard (Exit 99). And even when those cleared, I-85/northbound traffic was as slow, if not slower than it has been since before spring."},{"_id":"4GMSPNGWTZB5RGP44WTNVNJFQA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1600012141377},"content":"I-75/85 (the Downtown Connector) also had its worst backups since March with southbound slowing like old times the entire way from Buckhead to I-20 and, at one point, northbound slow from Highway 166 to Midtown. I-20 was also a big, slow beast in DeKalb, with jams both ways between Lithonia and I-285. And I-20, the West Freeway, was very heavy from I-285 into Douglas County. The eastbound side was even more congested than normal in those right lanes connecting with I-285 in Fulton County."},{"_id":"Z22XSXXMNFEDJJKMIHGPHM7WL4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1600012141378},"content":"But outside of all these outlier delays were, too, a litany of wrecks. Games of bumper tag broke out left and right during this confluence of travel. The 2 and 3 p.m. hours spit out so many problems that WSB Triple Team Traffic colleague Mike Shields and I had to do triage to both broadcast and digitally plot them. This was a stressful handful!"},{"_id":"5WDJ5Z4KXBGVFKFY7ZYL7CWGQ4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1600012141379},"content":"An oil spill before 2 p.m. shut down Highway 316/eastbound at Cedars Road in Dacula. Two wrecks in Henry and Butts counties made I-75/northbound even worse below Locust Grove. Multiple wrecks on I-85 tattooed it with backups in both directions between Braselton and Jefferson. An I-20/eastbound crash near Lee Road blocked multiple lanes and jammed the ride from Arbor Place Mall, flanked with just annoying onlooker backups on I-20/westbound. And the “garden-variety” wrecks all over the packed roads closer to Downtown Atlanta just exacerbated an already throbbing wound."},{"_id":"XJJ5INYJHRA7XLZV2ZYSC5MIFM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1600012141380},"content":"So what are the takeaways here? Much like we covered in this column two weeks ago, Atlanta traffic still can reach the same levels of nostalgic ugliness. Travel conditions just need an accelerant, such as rain, a holiday travel push, or even other wrecks. And we as drivers seem to be responding poorly when these backups do unfold. Delays seem more likely lately to trigger more wrecks and driving these days just simply seems to be less refined. So we all need to take a deep breath, put our eyes on the roads and hands upon the wheel, and drive deliberately, emotions aside."},{"_id":"QFADRCP6J5GZNKRA4AJEMBEDKE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1600012141381},"content":"Overall, Atlanta traffic isn’t routinely as bad as it once was, but it can be bad once as it ever was."},{"_id":"BBK6EOZJ3NHEZJWERVF6T2G53I","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1600012141382},"content":"Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on 95.5 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also hosts a traffic podcast with Smilin' Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at [email protected] ."},{"_id":"MPYRMVP3LJE4XBTXQOCI7KSAKQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1600012141383},"content":"
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As the dump truck approached with a green traffic signal, it struck the driver’s side of the Lincoln, which had just entered the intersection, according to McDonald."},{"type":"oembed_response","subtype":"twitter","_id":"34H54ONJWNFZXGKV6CNKGBJM2A","raw_oembed":{"url":"https://twitter.com/cobbcountygovt/status/1303383792959324160","author_name":"Cobb County, GA","author_url":"https://twitter.com/cobbcountygovt","html":"

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770-499-3987."},{"_id":"KEAHETBALFEQ5DH3WNCLU4HZI4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1599586102457},"content":"— Please return to AJC.com for updates."}],"created_date":"2020-09-08T16:36:58.593Z","revision":{"revision_id":"VPCLG4N35FAWVPHNCCGGGAKGS4","parent_id":"IG27FVCJAVATTFQ5EUWOARA7CE","editions":["default"],"branch":"default","user_id":"[email protected]","published":true},"last_updated_date":"2020-09-09T00:44:37.815Z","canonical_url":"/news/breaking-busy-east-cobb-intersection-blocked-after-fatal-crash/IKE3WOYGINDU7DUM5E7RS7BK2E/","headlines":{"basic":"Roswell woman killed in crash at east Cobb intersection ","mobile":"","native":"","print":"","tablet":"","web":"","meta_title":""},"owner":{"sponsored":false,"id":"ajc"},"content_restrictions":{"content_code":"free"},"address":{},"comments":{"allow_comments":true},"workflow":{"status_code":4,"note":""},"subheadlines":{"basic":""},"description":{"basic":"A 62-year-old Roswell woman was 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Rarely does one remember the faces and names of the people asking for the petition signed, the cotton candy bought, or the mailing list joined. Attendees are in a hurry, so these interactions are just transactions. And without repetition, these moments are tiny drops in the ocean of time. But one such advocate impacted passersby in a far greater way than most and deserves her due. "},{"_id":"HNZVO322YBDLVCH5HGU6PZODCM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Sandy Kinnard volunteered for years at the TEAM Georgia booths at Atlanta Braves games and numerous Infinite Energy Center events. The aim of TEAM Georgia is to promote safe and sober driving and boating. The coalition’s booths at these events allow attendees to sign a pledge not to drink and drive and often get a free soft drink voucher in return. The pledgee then wears a wristband, so vendors know not to sell them alcohol. No one has signed up more sober drivers for TEAM Georgia than Kinnard. "},{"_id":"CSE7YXQVNZBFLEHGEWBNVUCPZE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Kinnard was a fixture at Atlanta Braves games for most of two decades at Turner Field, working the TEAM Georgia booth. She attended nearly every Braves home game in that stretch, staying on afterwards. Attending events for free is the payoff for TEAM Georgia volunteers, so Kinnard’s charm shined through by not only how she treated Braves fans, but also with her own fandom. "},{"_id":"PBZ35I2QFJDRPAB5BIBVPU4ALQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"When TEAM Georgia’s tenure with the Braves ended, Kinnard became a fixture at Atlanta Gladiators games at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth. While TEAM Georgia sometimes struggled to find volunteers in other places, Kinnard was often the captain of the duo that would work the booth for those games and other events in that arena. She made sure all the tools volunteers needed - paper, pens, vouchers, signs - were in the right places and stored away just so. Diehard Braves, Glads, and Swarm fans remember her well. "},{"_id":"LXKITJT34FCFVPFIXNIS2CDQPA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“[My son] would always sneak around the counter to give her hugs!!!” Karen Barrett said on a recent Facebook post about Kinnard’s volunteer work. “She almost always had a treat of some sort for him.” That kind of consistency and that extra touch made Kinnard memorable. She saw her work for TEAM Georgia as not only a move to make the state’s roads safer, but also a service to the people attending the games. Kinnard shined the light to those people. "},{"_id":"ETXU23OICZB6VNGP2JFYI2FHBE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“Sandy trained many younger volunteers. They learned from the best,” TEAM Georgia Executive Director Robert Cucchi said. Her consistency in not only showing up to volunteer, but also doing a great job made Cucchi and the other leaders worry far less about the work going on in the field. Kinnard was as dependable as seconds on the clock. She worked hard and networked like a champ. "},{"_id":"O6T6NDKV45FN3NPN6J2W3O6SII","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Take Cucchi’s word for it: “Sandy had many friends who worked in various capacities at the [Infinite Energy[ Center who would come by our booth to visit with her.” And Cucchi couldn’t keep up with her, “I can’t tell you how many Braves fans would come by to just say hello to Sandy prior to the games. When I ran Booth #2 at Turner [Field], I could never come up with more than 25-30 [sober driving] signups.She would easily secure over 200 signups most games.There were tallies of 300 and more when she had additional help.” "},{"_id":"QDV26UJA7JCK7MWEV5JRSHFKP4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"The COVID-19 precautions halted all events where TEAM Georgia would run these booths. Kinnard fell upon some medical problems at some point during the pandemic and they eventually claimed her life on Thursday, August 27th, at 79 years young. A great grandmother, Kinnard had a big biological family, but her web of familiarity also extended far beyond her genealogy because of her zeal for safe driving and her unending warmth. 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As volume has slightly upticked in the last couple of weeks of the slow rollout of some schools opening, rainy conditions have turned the morning and midday drives sideways. This turnabout is a jarring reminder of how quickly a rush hour can sour and of just how ugly Atlanta can still be during this pandemic."},{"_id":"XNXAJFPAWRGQNFNHSV7ZVN2HMM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Take last Tuesday, a day full of lazy rain all over North Georgia, when a string of crashes each took out multiple lanes on I-75/85 during AM drive."},{"_id":"S4TGCJT4ARCY7OBBHGIQAV7U7E","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“Scott Slade, host of Atlanta’s Morning News, tossed to traffic at one point wondering out loud if motor oil had been put down on the Connector. 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RED ALERT remains with this Crash on I-75/85/nb at 17th St. (exit 251) all lanes are still shut down. Avoid and use Peachtree St. into Midtown Stay w/@MarkArum and his team @AshleyFrascaWSB @mckayWSB on @wsbradio @wsbtv for updates #ATLtraffic pic.twitter.com/zA0upcmVRw

— AJC WSB Traffic (@ajcwsbtraffic) August 25, 2020

"},{"_id":"OXPHHISHLFFOVOVXFSJWF7PSD4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"In contrast to mid-March, when interstate closures would only impact the select few out and about, RED ALERTS now are causing big time traffic jams. And with people still somewhat lulled into the complacency brought by better conditions, they make more mistakes."},{"_id":"G5UCJT7P55HLFJT36NL3HLQLOA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Last Tuesday saw steady rain in most areas from the early morning to the mid-afternoon. Morning and midday WSB Traffic anchor Veronica Harrell dealt with simultaneous RED ALERTS through the midday hours that fateful day, including a wreck that shut down both directions of I-575 in Canton. Harrell has a similar anecdote for the many wrecks on which she’s reported."},{"_id":"E7REHAYPWNF7FJEVJF26JLJD4M","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“Those who are out on the roadways are traveling at a high rate of speed, thus the reason for so many rollover crashes,” Harrell said. “People need to enjoy the extra space out on the road and not treat it like a NASCAR race.”"},{"_id":"7R3T3DXXKNER7MDDVX6ATBCQ5Y","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"This may seem old, but the importance of planning a commute before getting in the car only grows. Checking conditions and incidents on the WSB Traffic Team-powered Triple Team Traffic Alerts App , homepage, and Twitter feed are all great first checks before hitting the road. There are also easy one-clicks on wsbradio.com, the Triple Team Traffic Alerts App and the WSB Radio App to hear the most recent WSB Traffic on-air report. Drivers can leave the app running in the background on their phones to hear the Traffic Team’s audio reports for the biggest problems automatically, if they drive near the problems. And WSB airs traffic reports at least four times an hour through the day and every six minutes in AM and PM drive on 95.5 FM. Really, unless a wreck happens right in front of someone, there isn’t an excuse for not knowing about a big traffic problem. And the weather and commutes of late have shown that these problems are breaking out quite often."},{"_id":"WVVLHZBRWNDDPNVJZ3WOBOTHTM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Compacence - yes that ’c' word again - gets people stuck in delays and it gets folks caught in wrecks. Atlanta traffic isn’t “back back”, but it’s close. Nothing brings back the past nightmares of the everyday grind than a bit of rain. Just add water. So people need to drive with less speed, more caution, and more preparation from the best sources."},{"_id":"BQLE2X3YDZETJO3PN6IKIU654U","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on 95.5 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also hosts a traffic podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. 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After colliding with the stationary vehicle, the Mercedes was thrown back into the travel lanes, where it was struck by a semi-truck, police said."},{"_id":"UNZYUQA6CBF7ZAIWA347H7JTAA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1598296669765},"content":"The driver of the Mercedes, who was taken to a hospital with critical injuries, has not been identified."},{"type":"oembed_response","subtype":"twitter","_id":"JV5POO7ZEJB43PGV222J5QWEBE","raw_oembed":{"url":"https://twitter.com/GwinnettPd/status/1297965457891373058","author_name":"Gwinnett County Police","author_url":"https://twitter.com/GwinnettPd","html":"

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Working from home has lightened the traffic load both in automobiles and on MARTA trains and buses. And the lack of delays on the roads has made the need for MARTA less for those who don’t work from home, but have vehicles. A consistent reliable trip time to work or home is often possible behind the wheel these days (in morning drive, anyway)."},{"_id":"TBVMEOJZXFEYTIJEHSZZ2OBJHM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1598183273863},"content":"But MARTA is still up and running for those without vehicles, catching flights, and not working at home. But the system is seeing far less ridership on all platforms than before, as it joins many slow businesses in just riding out this seemingly interminable pandemic pattern."},{"_id":"UNYVPVEZEBFKBBPDKPGD5NGMKQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1598183273864},"content":"All that said, MARTA is still planning for future expansion."},{"_id":"M3N4Q6HOXBCOBHTL3DVPNEUN74","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1598183273865},"content":"The agency is laying the groundwork for bus rapid transit. Bus rapid transit costs roughly 10% of the nine-digit dollar-per-mile price tag of expanding heavy rail. BRT involves dedicated lanes for buses that have very few stops. So the buses work like trains without rails, with far less impact felt from traffic flow than a trip in a regular automobile."},{"_id":"4MMJNY6ACJCLBI5LCH7JNCY46U","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1598183273866},"content":"AJC transportation reporter David Wickert has laid out Metro Atlanta’s BRT plans very well. The Atlanta Regional Commission has earmarked $11 billion dollars for transit expansion, which includes BRT routes in Clayton County, routes linking Center Parc Stadium (GSU Stadium’s new name) to both MARTA rail and the BeltLine, and even a BRT route between Kennesaw State University and the Arts Center. The City of Atlanta has BRT lines funded and on the board for Capitol Avenue to Summerhill, along Northside Drive and Metropolitan Parkway from I-75 to Lakewood, and along the North Avenue/Hollowell Parkway corridor between the Old Fourth Ward and west Atlanta. Construction begins on the Capitol Ave. line, which connects Downtown Atlanta to a south portion of the BeltLine, in 2022 and isn’t scheduled to open until 2024."},{"_id":"XOVAYYTFQFD7BG7W7ZGQTAK2UU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1598183273867},"content":"To give an idea of what the Capitol line and possibly others would look like, the route, which follows current bus route 55, would have 12 station areas (with stations sometimes on both sides of the street). Buses on the new line would arrive every 10-15 minutes, versus the current 20-30 minute intervals on the current 55 route. And the buses would largely travel in their own lanes, with little interruption from surrounding cars."},{"_id":"O4IENX2EWJD2LALTWQC4SMJKH4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1598183273868},"content":"Bus rapid transit could also proliferate in Gwinnett County, but the funding measure is in voters’ hands. The November ballot measure calls for a 30-year, 1% sales tax. While MARTA’s heavy rail extension from Doraville to Jimmy Carter will account for 17% of the forecast $12.1 billion collected over the life of the proposed tax, much of the plan calls for bus expansion, including bus-rapid-transit routes. And a large part of Gwinnett’s transit will operate outside of the MARTA umbrella."},{"_id":"PAMFFP35MNGR5M6YXRL4TUFLLU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1598183273869},"content":"“Gwinnett and MARTA are in the very early stages of discussions about what the relationship will look like,” MARTA spokesperson Stephany Fisher told the AJC. “But we have other examples that we can look to, such as when Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) was extended beyond their district (San Francisco) to San Jose.”"},{"_id":"JN4PAHCFLNCYJNFEYHPDCIEXLY","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1598183273870},"content":"This revamped initiative in Gwinnett follows the failed March 2019 attempt at funding on a special election ballot."},{"_id":"Y3ELH4SHXFFNJNS7H2OH2IWTV4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1598183273871},"content":"All of this talk about mass transit may seem moot in today’s conditions. Nearly overnight, Atlanta traffic went from awful to tolerable this spring. And even if some temporary habits, such as working from home, become permanent, there are still plenty of cars on the roads, and traffic issues still cause sizable delays. Also, Atlanta’s population is expected to continue growing, and that reality is for what transportation officials plan."},{"_id":"TSC2DJXRFNDPFOWN5YEZRZGN6Y","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1598183273872},"content":"Fisher said MARTA has remained important during the shutdown: “While post-COVID travel behavior remains uncertain, the last five months have highlighted the importance of public transit in getting people to essential jobs and essential destinations.”"},{"_id":"S3JQDNRW2VFTXEV5KBOUZH3SDY","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1598183273873},"content":"MARTA and other transit agencies’ abilities to expand, innovate, and plan for the future are essential in keeping pace with Metro Atlanta’s growth. Building the correct, smart roadway expansions is also key in this success. And the transition to working from home is also easing the pain of gridlock. Strange as it may be, Gwinnett voters hopefully will consider the future need for bus rapid transit and other mass transit needs when the present doesn’t demand them."},{"_id":"LGGUOR34YBG3XHCBPSWRPFYIIM","type":"divider","additional_properties":{"_id":"AWDQHQ6KXVGYVLNCBBI6PNPJ3A","comments":[]}},{"_id":"AMZRLTZU2FGFFBPJBYEN7YU53A","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1598183273875},"content":"Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on 95.5 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also writes a traffic blog and hosts a podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. 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POIROT INVESTIGATES! at Open Stage

Sun Nov 8 , 2020
Agatha Christie’s well-known detective, Hercule Poirot comes to life in Open Stage’s production Poirot Investigates! While Christie herself grew to dislike the character she created, Poirot has found his way into the hearts and imaginations of generations of mystery fans. Open Stage’s Producing Artistic Director Stuart Landon is one such […]