Melting snow helps Atlanta roads, but they’ll refreeze tonight

Updated Dec 09, 2017

[2:05 p.m.]: Sunny skies and warming temperatures helped clear metro Atlanta roads Saturday afternoon.

But freezing temperatures later are expected to leave roads icy again tonight and Sunday morning, and state transportation officials urged motorists to stay off the roads.

“We will be dealing with black ice and icy patches throughout tonight and again Sunday,” Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Natalie Dale said.

“We cannot caution enough about how road conditions will deteriorate overnight,” she said. “So we encourage motorists to limit travel once the sun goes down due to refreezing on wet roads.”

Dale said the agency will be treating and retreating state highways throughout the weekend. Crews will work 12-hour shifts at least until Monday.

Dale said “everyone should be prepared for a normal, albeit cautious, commute on Monday morning.”

[12:40 p.m.]: Trees that were blocking I-20 westbound at Post Road in Paulding County have been removed and the interstate is open. The westbound I-20 ramp at Fairburn Road also is open.

[11:45 a.m.]: The sun is out and snow is beginning to melt. But the Georgia Department of Transportation says motorists should still stay off the roads.

GDOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale said empty roads will make it easier for crews to clear ice and slush.

Meanwhile, several state highways on the west side of metro Atlanta remain closed where trees or limbs have fallen:

*All westbound lanes on I-20 were closed at Post Road in Douglas County.

*The westbound I-20 entrance ramp at Fairburn Road in Douglas County also was closed because of downed branches.

*Ga. 120 is closed in both directions at the Ga. 120 Connector in Paulding County.

*Ga. 92 is closed in both directions at Indian Trail Drive in Paulding County.

*Ga. 92 is also closed in both directions at Macland Road in Paulding County.

[10:33 a.m.]: Downed trees and other debris continue to cause havoc on some metro Atlanta roads.

Areas west and northwest have been hit especially hard. All westbound lanes on I-20 were closed at Post Road in Douglas County. The westbound I-20 entrance ramp at Fairburn Road also was closed because of downed branches.

Other state routes were affected by downed trees. In Cobb County, GA. 280 was closed in both directions at Walthall Avenue. 

The Georgia Department of Transportation also reported icy conditions on I-575 at Barrett Parkway.

[8:43 a.m.]: MARTA trains and buses are running on a regular schedule today. The agency says it will monitor weather conditions and adjust service schedules as necessary.

Original story: Icy and debris-covered roads made traveling a hazardous proposition across metro Atlanta on Saturday morning.

The Georgia Department of Transportation reports at least a dozen instances of debris closing lanes or sometimes entire roads. The hardest hit area is west of Atlanta between I-20 and I-75.

GDOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale said heavy snow had toppled trees and – in some cases – downed power lines.

Dale said most interstates are passable, but many side streets have not been treated and are treacherous. She urged residents to stay off the road unless they absolutely must get out.

“This is not over. We do not want people on the roads,” she said.

All lanes of Ga. 92 at Indian Trail Road are closed. The same holds for Ga. 120 at the Ga. 120 Connector and also Ga. 120 at Baggett Circle.

I-20 west of Atlanta has been especially treacherous. Dale said the interstate near Carrolton saw several jackknifed trailers and downed trees overnight. She said people should not travel in that corridor.

GDOT is working around the clock to plow, salt and brine state highways. But snow was still falling Saturday morning.

Dale said slush on highways will begin to melt when temperatures get above freezing. But she said roads likely will refreeze Saturday night. She urged people to stay off the highways for their own safety and to allow crews to clear the roads.

“This is a weekend-long event,” Dale said. “We’ll get people back to work on Monday. But for the time being, people should really stay put.”