SAVANNAH, GA – Georgia Department of Transportation crews continue to treat roadways, bridges, overpasses, and reported trouble areas with gravel, salt and brine during this extreme icing event in Southeast Georgia. The public is encouraged to eliminate any unnecessary travel especially along the I-95 corridor and the I-95 at I-16 interchange where extreme and severe icing is currently taking place. It is imperative that GDOT crews have the ability and the room on the roadways to reach these trouble areas and treat the roadways, bridges and overpasses.
The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a Winter Storm Watch for all of Southeast Georgia, including areas east of I-95, through this evening. A Winter Weather Advisory is also posted for Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Cook, Irwin, Lanier and Lowndes counties. Snow and sleet accumulations of 1 to 3 inches are expected mainly along and east of the Interstate 95 corridor.
Governor Deal has declared a State of Emergency for the following counties beginning today, January 3 and expiring on January 5 at 11:59 p.m. for: Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Brantley, Bryan, Bulloch, Camden, Candler, Coffee, Charlton, Chatham, Clinch, Echols, Effingham, Evans, Glynn, Jeff Davis, Lanier, Lowndes, Liberty, Long, McIntosh, Pierce, Screven, Tattnall, Toombs, Ware and Wayne counties.
Potential impacts include hazardous travel due to slick roads (especially bridges) and power outages from ice and gusty winds that can cause tree limbs to fall. According to the NWS, frigid temperatures will continue across Georgia through Saturday. High temperatures in Southeast Georgia will only reach the upper 30s through Saturday, limiting the potential for melting. With the low temperatures in the lower 20s, any moisture remaining overnight will refreeze and create the potential for icy patches.
Major bridge closings currently include Diamond Causeway at Skidaway Narrows, Talmadge Bridge, I-95 Overpass at Highway 204, Pooler Parkway Overpass over I-16 among others across the region. Announcements will be made when they re-open.
Last night, Georgia DOT crews have treated all interstates located in Georgia District 5 located in Southeast Georgia and nearly all of the state routes in Chatham and Glynn counties with brine solution. Brine was also spread on routes leading to Tybee, Skidaway, St. Simons and Jekyll Islands. Gravel and salt were also applied to bridges throughout the region. Georgia DOT has deployed equipment from throughout the state to assist District 5 with this weather event. Thirteen additional snowplow and spreader trucks from District 2 located in East Central Georgia were sent along with an additional eight trucks from District 3 located in West Central Georgia; these additional resources are concentrating on the interstates. Seven additional trucks were deployed this morning from District 4 located in Southwest Georgia and will begin assisting in the Waycross area.
District 5 forces also continue to respond to this event by spreading gravel and salt along affected routes. Currently, crews are prepared to reapply brine to interstates, major routes and bridges tonight.
During hazardous winter weather conditions, Georgia DOT advises motorists to:Call 5-1-1 to report icy conditions on interstates and state routes;If possible, postpone travel until daylight hours when road conditions such as black ice are more visible;Pay attention to Georgia DOT trucks spreading materials and, stay back a safe distance;Do not pass a Georgia DOT dump truck spreading the salt/gravel mixture, as gravel may kick up and could break car windshields — follow at least 100 feet behind Department vehicles;Be aware of Georgia DOT and other emergency crews working to clear snow, ice, debris and potential downed trees or power lines from interstates and state routes;SLOW DOWN at least half your normal speed and use a low gear as you drive;Treat a non-working traffic signal as a four-way stop; andBeware of icy patches (especially on bridges) and watch for fallen trees or power linesBefore getting on the road during winter weather Georgia DOT urges motorists to call 511 for updated information on roadway conditions. Georgia 511 is a free phone service that provides real-time traffic and travel information statewide, including closures and reports of icing or other hazardous conditions on interstates and state routes. Callers can transfer to operators to request complimentary vehicle assistance on interstate highways across Georgia from the Highway Emergency Response Operators (HERO) and the Coordinated Highway Assistance & Maintenance (CHAMP) programs - 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 511 for vehicle assistance or to report an issue. Visit www.511ga.org.