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Eyes on the Road: DOT to pause lane closings for Labor Day
0903Neil Kantner
Neil Kantner

As is its custom, the Georgia Department of Transportation is giving motorists a holiday break from road construction.

The DOT has suspended construction-related lane closures through 5 a.m. Tuesday.

Crews may still be working near highways, however, so officials advise caution if they’re driving anywhere work is taking place.

Also, safety concerns may require some long-term lane closures remain in place. And lane closures could occur anytime emergency strikes.

“We’ve averaged nearly 2,000 accidents across our state during recent Labor Day weekends,” said DOT District Engineer Bayne Smith.

“On average, more than 15 people die and more than 900 are injured on Georgia roads each year during this holiday.”

Overnight improvements set for Ga. 400/Abernathy Road

The DOT began overnight work last week to improve the Abernathy Road northbound ramp to Ga. 400.

The ramp will be widened to two lanes and extended to improve merging onto Ga. 400 north.

“We appreciate the work that Georgia DOT is doing to enhance mobility in the Perimeter market,” said Yvonne Williams, president and CEO of the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts.

“This project will improve the efficiency of the ramp and allow more vehicles to move quickly from Abernathy Road to Ga. 400 north,” she said. “That should help reduce the bottleneck that often occurs in that area during rush hours.”

Work is suspended until Tuesday because of the Labor Day holiday and will take place as weather permits.

One lane will remain open at all times, so officials are advising that motorists be careful as they travel through the work zone.

The contract for the work also includes extending the third lane northbound from its current end north of McGinnis Ferry Road to the Big Creek Greenway Bridge, giving commuters two new miles of roadway in Forsyth County.

C.W. Matthews Contracting Inc. of Marietta was awarded the contract for nearly $3.4 million, with a completion date of Jan. 31.

Sautee man named utilities engineer for DOT's District 1

A longtime DOT employee has been named district utilities engineer for the 21 counties in Northeast Georgia that make up District 1.

Neil Kantner, who lives in Sautee, will be responsible for the utility coordination on all construction and maintenance projects with the 150 utility companies in the district.

“Planning and coordination of schedules and permits is an essential element for all of our projects,” Bayne Smith said. “The utilities office supports our functions in building and maintaining a safe road system.”

Kantner graduated from Georgia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1976. He earned his professional engineer’s license in 1981.

He worked as an engineer consultant for 20 years, then started with the DOT in 1997 as a transportation engineer associate in the Clarkesville Area Office.

Kantner moved up the ranks, eventually becoming district design engineer in 2006. His recent work includes the design of the Cleveland Bypass in White County.

The bypass is a $16.8 million project, which calls for a four-lane road from Hope Drive at U.S. 129 to Ga. 115 west of Cleveland, a two-mile stretch. The new road is expected to alleviate congestion that builds up on U.S. 129 heading into downtown Cleveland, especially at rush hour and fall weekends.

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

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