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Eyes on the Road: DOT offers tips for driving in snow, ice
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No snow is in the immediate forecast, but during the height of last week’s storm, the Georgia Department of Transportation offered a few tips that are good to remember when the white stuff comes our way again.

First, check weather conditions before leaving for your destination. Driving into potentially hazardous weather — unless there’s an emergency — isn’t advised.

If you must travel, slow down and stay behind snowplows — that’s the safest place to drive. Allow at least 10 car lengths between your vehicle and snowplows or hopper spreaders.

Do not pass. The plows are wide, and sometimes a group of trucks will work in tandem to clear snow quickly, especially on major highways. Trucks spray salt and gravel, meaning potential damage to vehicles.

Remember that technology helps, but only to an extent.

Four-wheel drive, anti-lock brakes and traction control all help, and heavier vehicles, such as trucks and SUVs, get around better, “but they can’t take the place of good driving habits and the need to reduce speed on snowy or icy roads,” according to the DOT.

Finally, the road may look clear, but that doesn’t mean it’s totally safe. Motorists should be aware of black ice conditions on surfaces such as bridge decks and entrance and exit ramps. A wet spot on the roadway could be black ice.

Last week’s storm hit the Atlanta area particularly hard, resulting in massive gridlock and waves of commuters abandoning their cars.

The impact here was far less, even though Hall County schools closed early Tuesday and remained closed through the week.

DOT completes left-lane upgrades to Ga. 20 at Ga. 324 near Mall of Ga.

The DOT completed a small project recently on a major roadway.

Working with Gwinnett County, the agency added 300 feet of left-turn capacity on Ga. 20/Buford Drive at Ga. 324/Gravel Springs Road north of the Mall of Georgia.

The project cost $71,671 and was done as part of the DOT’S Quick Response Program, which focuses on low-cost, operational improvements to the state route system. Projects are identified by DOT engineers or local government officials, then managed through the state’s Office of Local Grants.

“Small changes can make a big change in your commute,” said Rudy Bowen, who represents the 7th Congressional District, including Gwinnett County, on the State Transportation Board.

Annual Transportation Forum is open to public, set for March 13 at UNG

The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce has scheduled the annual Transportation Forum for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 13.

The event will take place at the University of North Georgia-Gainesville’s Continuing Education Auditorium.

The forum is open to the public. The cost is $15 for chamber members and $20 for nonmembers and includes a boxed lunch.

Speakers will include officials from the DOT and the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization, which heads transportation planning for the area.

Typically, presentations will involve updates of ongoing and planned projects.

The biggest road project underway in Hall is the widening of Ga. 347 in two phases between McEver Road in Buford and Ga. 211/Old Winder Highway in Braselton. A third phase in the South Hall project will involve improvements to Ga. 347 between McEver Road and Lake Lanier Islands resort.

Jeff Gill covers transportation issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him:

jgill@gainesvilletimes.com

facebook.com/jeffagill

@JeffGTimes

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