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Traffic patrols will be heavy around polls
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Complete Times coverage of the 2008 election.

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A busy day at the polls could mean voters will need to be patient behind the wheel as well as in line at the precincts.

Area law enforcement officials say they will keep an eye on the roads today as Hall County residents head in and out of the schools, churches, community centers and public buildings where they’ll be casting votes.

Col. Jeff Strickland, spokesman for the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, said he has met with Charlotte Sosebee-Hunter, Hall’s interim elections director, about what to expect in terms of traffic.

He noted that she "is anticipating a heavy turnout."

"We will be extra patrolling all of the precincts and will be in contact with her throughout the day," he said. "If she has any concerns, we will address them as they arise."

Motorists should be "patient and vigilant of the pedestrian traffic around them," Strickland added.

Lt. Brian P. Kelly of the Gainesville Police Department said officers will be watching traffic at city precincts, as well.

"If (traffic) starts to back out or cause any kind of hazards in the roadways ... then we’ll respond accordingly," he said. "And we’ll assist with any traffic reroute that’s necessary."

Many of the city and county precincts lie on busy roadways, such as McEver Road and Thompson Bridge Road.

But a lot of them are in Hall County schools, which will be closed for the day, so that should help in the traffic crunch. The Gainesville school system is open today.

Teri Pope, spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation, said the state is not planning any lane closures in construction areas — particularly around Exits 16 and 17 on Interstate 985.

"Thankfully, all of our work will occur outside of lanes of travel (today)," she said.

Motorists can dial 511 or go to the DOT’s Web site,, "to get real-time traffic information," Pope said.

"If there is a backup anywhere or a crash in their route to go to vote, they can find out about it before they get caught in the backup."