Gridlock Guy: Summer brings road construction projects

Summertime is here and that means lazy days lounging poolside, sipping frosty beverages, catching fireflies under a moonlit sky, and if you live in Georgia, massive construction projects on area interstates.

Yes, while summer can bring lots of fun and relaxation, it is also the time the DOT ramps up construction projects around the metro area.

“As we look across metro Atlanta, we have 10 plus projects that go on that effect metro Atlanta in a big way,” said Georgia DOT Commissioner Russell McMurry.

Much of the construction is scheduled on Interstate 285, the notoriously busy Atlanta bypass.

“We have work on I-285 sort of the west wall, from Paces Ferry Road down to I-85, replacing those concrete slabs,” McMurry said.

The southern arc of I-285 will also be heavily impacted.

“Really from I-20 to I-20 on the east and west side (including the southern lanes of I-285), replacing the big overhead signs,” McMurry said. “That work is going on overnight on the weekdays and on the weekends.”

For the most part, construction on all interstates will take place between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. (Monday through Thursday) and on weekends (Friday 9 p.m. to Monday 5 a.m.).

In metro Atlanta, the DOT will try to limit lane closures for a maximum of two consecutive miles.

Expect to find crews on the west side of Interstate 20 as well.

“We have work on I-20 replacing the bridge joints on the west side of town as you come in from the perimeter into the city,” McMurry said. “If you’ve driven out there you know how rough and bumpy that is, so we are replacing those bridge joints to make it a smoother ride.”

Last but not least, there will be plenty of work along Interstate 75.

“Never a dull moment on I-75 either up in Cobb County on the I-75 Express Lane project or down in Henry County,” McMurry said. “Always something going on there.”

With construction crews out in full force all summer long, patience and planning is needed.

“Whether you are on a family vacation, an out-of-state trucker, or a motorist just passing through, I can’t over-emphasize the importance of planning ahead and looking for alternative routes when planning weekend travel this summer in Georgia,” McMurry said. “Prior to getting on the road, call 511 or visit the 511 website.”

The large amount of construction projects might put a damper on your summer fun, but the DOT reiterates the importance of these work zones.

“While we understand the frustration of being caught up in traffic delays, the long days and warm temperatures of summer are the ideal time to make needed repairs and improvements to our state and federal highways,” Georgia DOT State Construction Engineer Marc Mastronardi said “The preventative maintenance activities we undertake in the summer save taxpayers millions of dollars in avoided reconstruction costs over the long term.”