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DOT is installing cable barriers on I-985

POSTED: May 24, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Scott Rogers/The Times

Work crews prepare the ground for concrete Monday along Interstate 985 near Buford as the Georgia Department of Transportation installs cable barriers along the median.

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No, those aren’t sidewalks being built alongside Interstate 985.

"We get a lot of calls about that," said Crystal Paulk-Buchanan, spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The DOT has begun installing cable barriers on a 22.3-mile stretch of I-985, starting from where it splits off from Interstate 85 near Buford and continuing north to the junction with U.S. 129.

"We’re basically trying to get them inside all grassy medians across the state," Paulk-Buchanan said. "It’s to prevent crossover accidents."

A crossover accident occurs when a car goes out of control and travels across the median, hitting a vehicle going in the opposite direction. Theoretically, the median itself should prevent head-on collisions. But Paulk-Buchanan said the separation between the northbound and southbound lanes isn’t always enough to keep erratic drivers from causing an accident.

The steel cables may not completely stop a car going more than 100 miles an hour, she said, but they’ll slow it down. The DOT has already installed about 90 miles of cable barrier in the past two years, including some on Ga. 400 in Forsyth County.

The state is spending $9.9 million to install the barriers both on I-985 in Hall County and on portions of I-85 in Gwinnett County. Both projects are expected to be completed by fall.

Paulk-Buchanan said there will be no disruption to traffic, because all work will take place inside the median.

"They’re just a bit north of Exit 4 (on I-985) right now," she said. "They’re putting in concrete pads to anchor the cables."



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