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Damaged DOT message sign to be replaced Tuesday
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An Interstate 985 traffic information sign damaged several years ago by a passing truck is finally being replaced and traffic in the area is expected to be affected.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is replacing the sign today with one that was recycled out of a sign replacement project in Atlanta, said Teri Pope, spokeswoman in the DOT's Gainesville office.

The DOT is installing signs in Atlanta that feature wireless technology, she said.

Today's work north of Exit 24 will involve sign removal, set for 10 a.m. and taking about 15 minutes, and installation at 1 p.m.

Delays are expected on I-985 south as traffic is paced for the work, Pope said.

"The inside and outside shoulders of the interstate will be closed at the sign so work can occur," she said.

The work is expected to be completed by 4 p.m., with the sign spanning only the southbound portion of the interstate.

"We are excited to get this sign operational, especially since the cost of this sign is negligible," District Engineer Todd McDuffie said.

In 2005, the DOT had installed four information signs on I-985.

Two signs were placed over northbound lanes south of Exit 16 and south of Exit 22, and two signs were placed over southbound lanes north of Exit 24 and north of Exit 17.

The cost for all four signs was $1,086,392.

A truck that hadn't lowered its boom smacked the Exit 24 sign soon after the sign was installed, rendering it inoperable.

After the mishap, the DOT "tried to determine who hit the sign, so they could be charged for the repairs," Pope said. "But we could not determine who was responsible."

The DOT "will repair immediately any damage that is a safety issue, like a guardrail or a stop sign that is knocked over," she said.

An information sign "shares information and helps, but it is not crucial for safety," Pope said.

"Add to that our severe budget constraints" and such repairs are even less likely, she added.


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