ATLANTA, GA – As the devastating impact of Hurricane Michael has become apparent, Georgia DOT Special Response Teams and local crews have been working diligently to clear debris and blockages from state routes, primarily in southwest and west central Georgia where the impact of the storm was the worst. Governor Nathan Deal’s seven-day state of emergency declaration remains in effect as Georgia DOT continues to work in partnership with the Governor’s Office, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and state and local officials. Nearly 1,400 Georgia DOT personnel were deployed statewide to respond as quickly as possible once the storm passed.
Motorists in the hardest hit areas are still advised to avoid travel as much as possible, particularly in southwest Georgia. Motorists and residents should be advised that road conditions are not yet back to normal on many area routes, and residents should not expect routes to be “all clear.” Georgia DOT crews are working in concert with Georgia Power and other emergency crews to clear state routes as quickly as they can, while always emphasizing the safety of team members and the motoring public. Motorists who must travel should always be mindful and proceed with caution on all routes even if the road ahead appears to be clear, as there may be remaining debris, blockages or downed power lines. Motorists should never drive over a downed power line or attempt to move it from the road; a downed power line should always be assumed to be “live” and extremely dangerous. Additionally, traffic signal outages still exist in many areas, bringing a heightened need to minimize all but essential travel.
A total of 247 routes were closed, blocked or reported to have debris just following the storm. While all but approximately 50 of those routes are now passable, crews are actively working to clear and reopen any routes that remain closed. The first priority of crews in hardest-hit areas is to clear a minimum 12-foot wide path for access for emergency vehicles. Priority routes include those that provide public access to hospitals, trauma centers and other public facilities.
Progress has been made replacing or restoring damaged or destroyed traffic signals to service, though at many of these locations power is still out. Currently, just under 150 signals operated by Georgia DOT across the state are experiencing possible outages. Motorists who must drive today should always treat flashing red and non-operational signals as a four-way stop. Drivers are advised to stop, look all directions, and proceed only when safe to do so.
Motorists are encouraged to use caution to ensure their safety.
- Call 511 to report downed trees or other obstructions that impede travel on roadways or bridges.
- Do not drive around barricades that are in place for motorist’s safety.
- Residents should never clear tree limbs, downed trees or debris from roadways, as live power lines could be tangled in debris and cause injury or death; instead, wait for Georgia DOT and Georgia Power crews.
For real-time road conditions, or to learn if a particular route is open to traffic, call 511, visit Georgia511 or download the 511 app to your mobile device.