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Bulloch roads reopen at noon
Temperatures still below freezing; travel conditions improve
Winter Weather Georgi Werm
A Dekalb Police officer stops to check on Jesse Hatcher after he says another motorist caused him to lose control of his car and spin into the ditch off Interstate 20 West near Conyers on Tuesday. - photo by Associated Press

All roads in Bulloch County are scheduled to reopen by noon today, Bulloch County Emergency Management Director Ted Wynn said.

"The overnight precipitation left us with a good coating of ice on most elevated surfaces," he said. "Roads and bridges remained in good shape throughout the night. The temperature remained slightly above freezing until around 6 this morning when it dipped into the upper 20s, and began to freeze on bridges and overpasses."

That prompted emergency officials to close roads for most of the morning, allowing law enforcement to help transportation crews treat the bridges and overpasses with sand.

"As of noon today all roads will be open, but the public is advised to use caution when traveling on the roadways," Wynn said. "Transportation crews will recheck the bridges and overpasses later today and treat as necessary."

Wynn added that Bulloch County activated its Emergency Operations Center Tuesday night through this morning until 6 a.m., "and there were no unmet needs from the public throughout the night."

The EOC "was reactivated with limited staff to address the bridges at 7:15 am." He said. "We will resume normal operations today at noon."

The Georgia Department of Transportation said in a news release early this morning that crews have been active throughout the night traveling state roads for icy areas in southeast Georgia.

In Bulloch County, GDOT reported hazardous, icy conditions on the U.S. Highway 301 bridge over the Ogeechee River overflow and railway near the Screven County line and the Georgia Highway 24 bridge over the Ogeechee River.

They will continue to monitor the state routes and interstates as this winter storm moves across the area. GDOT is urging motorists to stay off of highways as conditions are likely to continue to deteriorate until temperatures rise.

According to the National Weather Service, at 11:15 a.m., the Statesboro-Bulloch County Airport reported a 30-degree temperature under overcast skies with winds out of the north at 5 mph.

The forecast today calls for a high of 34 under mostly cloudy skies, with winds out of the north around 7 mph. Tonight, the temperature is expected to drop to 18 degrees, with wind chills as low as 14, before rising to 45 under sunny skies Thursday.

GDOT advises the public to refrain from all but such absolutely necessary travel until midday today at the earliest. If motorists must travel, they are asked to be patient with conditions and with one another and be extremely cautious.

GDOT urged motorists to slow down considerably; allow extra distance between yourself and other vehicles, maintain a steady speed; avoid lane changing and sudden acceleration or braking; and never pass a GDOT, contractor or local government truck treating the road. Also, avoid driving during overnight hours as black ice will form on streets, roads and highways and is virtually impossible to detect in the dark.

Motorists are urged to:

- Slow down and stay behind the spreaders. The road behind the spread truck will be the safest place to drive. Allow at least 10 car lengths between your vehicle and spreaders.

- Do not pass. The spreader trucks are wide, and sometimes a group of trucks will work in tandem to spread salt and gravel quickly, especially on major highways.

- Be particularly aware of black ice conditions on surfaces such as bridge decks and entrance and exit ramps late tonight and the early hours of Thursday morning.

- Remember that technology helps, but only to a point. Four-wheel drive, anti-lock brakes and traction control are beneficial advancements in today's cars, trucks and SUVs, but they can't take the place of good driving habits and the need to reduce speed on snowy or icy roads.



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