DOT was en route with warning signs at time of I-16 crash

A state Department of Transportation crew was alerted to the troubling fog on I-16 Wednesday morning and on its way to put out metal warning signs, according to DOT, when the crew got a call from the sheriff. It was too late to prevent a crash, the workers learned; one had just happened.

The crew then managed the road to deal with the accident.

When local 911 staff first called in the initial alert to DOT about the fog, DOT did not discuss whether to close the road as a preventive measure, said DOT spokeswoman Jill Goldberg.

While DOT has the ability to close any of its roads, state procedures for dealing with fog and smoke say nothing about closing roads, but just about posting signs and traffic control. The decision to close a road is made in concert with other agencies, Goldberg said, and she noted that the DOT crew with the signs had not yet seen the fog in person.

From the initial alert to a crash, 28 minutes elapsed, she said.

The smoke and fog guidelines concentrate mostly on smoke and fires, wildfires and controlled burns. They call for the Georgia Forestry Commission to notify the Georgia State Patrol of limited visibility, with the State Patrol notifying DOT if warranted. Goldberg noted DOT did not wait for a notification from the State Patrol.