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Roads are improving
Side streets, subdivisions still icy, but warming trend to continue
0114roads
Billy Hall, city of Gainesville Public Works street sweeper, shovels ice and snow Thursday from Circle Drive in Gainesville. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Winter weather recovery

Most schools and government services will resume normal service on Tuesday, following the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday

Gainesville city government: Has resumed normal service but will be closed for holiday on Monday

Gainesville City Schools: Will resume Tuesday; today's homecoming activities postponed until Feb. 1

Gainesville garbage, recycling: Will resume Monday with extra crews Monday and Tuesday to catch up

Gainesville-Hall County Senior Life Center: Will reopen Tuesday, including Meals on Wheels service

Hall County government, courts: Furlough scheduled for Tuesday is canceled

Hall County Schools: Will resume Tuesday; school board work session rescheduled to 5 p.m. Tuesday

North Georgia College & State University: Will resume normal schedule today

Red Rabbit: Will resume all routes Tuesday

Truett-McConnell College: Classes resume Monday as Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday is canceled

U.S. Postal Service: Has resumed where carriers are able to travel

 

Road conditions continued to improve Thursday, even though many subdivision and side streets remained frozen sheets of ice - especially those in the shade.

Early in the morning, when temperatures were well below freezing, motorists still had issues on roads not addressed by or responding well to public works efforts, gunning up hills and spinning wheels in solid ice.

The good news is temperatures are on the rise, with the mercury expected to be well into the 40s by the weekend.
"We're looking great on interstates and state routes in Northeast Georgia," said Teri Pope, spokeswoman for the DOT's Gainesville-based District 1.

The "slush mixture on shoulders or in turn lanes is melting and getting off the roads," she added. "We will not work (Thursday) night, but will be on standby and ready to respond if needed."

Jimmy Hightower, Hall County's road maintenance supervisor, said road crews planned Thursday night to continue working on secondary roads.

"We have a list - it's about 50 or 60 roads - we're going to be working on through the night," he said. "We're hoping this gets cleared up by daylight."

Hightower was concerned about overnight freezing temperatures still hampering efforts.

The National Weather Service in Peachtree City is calling for conditions to improve over the next several days.

In addition to warmer temperatures, skies are expected to be sunny or partly cloudy through Sunday. The next chance for precipitation is Sunday night, with a slight chance for rain.

Showers are in the forecast through Wednesday, but temperatures are expected to rise to 50 by Tuesday.

It's quite a contrast from this week, when some 6 to 8 inches of snow fell through the Hall area and temperatures hovered below freezing.

The snowstorm, perhaps the worst in Hall since the blizzard of 1993, made for a long week for the DOT and local road crews.

Crews have worked long shifts since Sunday spreading salt and other chemicals and using blades to push snow and ice to shoulders.

Pope said the DOT has spent nearly $1 million so far in Northeast Georgia alone on the winter storm cleanup.
The cost breakdown is $208,980, personnel; $432,670, equipment operation; and $354,637, materials.

Employees have spent 9,397.5 hours working on the roads, with the DOT attacking interstates first, then four-lane state routes, followed by two-lane state routes.

And crews have used 2,137 tons of salt, 4,447 tons of stone and 11,425 pounds of calcium chloride, said Teri Pope, spokeswoman for the DOT's Gainesville-based District 1.

The dollar amounts and other totals are for Sunday through 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Statewide numbers are still being compiled. Pope said she has "no idea how long that (effort) will take."

In a reversal of normal winter weather, metro Atlanta has had worse conditions than mountainous Northeast Georgia.

"(That area) bore the brunt of this storm because they got so much ice, over 2 inches thick in some areas," Pope said.

A big issue for the DOT is abandoned vehicles, more of a problem in the Atlanta area, and officials are calling for motorists to remove them as soon as possible.

"Effective ice removal cannot occur while vehicles remain in highway travel lanes and on shoulders," DOT spokesman David Spear said.

"As temperatures warm and ice melts today, it will become imperative to clear shoulders so runoff will drain properly and not pool in roadways to refreeze tonight."

He cited a state law that allows law enforcement to remove vehicles that are "impeding the flow of traffic."

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