Early commuters found Friday’s predawn drive icy and dicey in spots, but the reports of icing slowed after daybreak, as bright sunshine helped melt the black ice scattered across metro Atlanta.
“We think we’re ahead of this now,” said Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Karlene Barron. “This is pretty much behind us.”
The morning was far from normal for more than 100,000 customers of Georgia Power and the state’s electric membership cooperatives still without electricity.
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“If you can, please do not travel until after the sun rises and temperatures get above freezing to minimize your chances of encountering black ice,” advised Teri Pope, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation.
In downtown Atlanta, the ramp from I-20 eastbound to I-75/85 northbound was shut down at 6:30 a.m. because of a wreck that happened on an icy patch. The icy patch had been sanded and the ramp reopened by 7 a.m.
GDOT reported icing on several state routes, including Ga. 20 at Bethelview Road in Forsyth County, Ga. 120 at I-85 in Gwinnett County and Winder Highway near Youngblood Road, Mundy Mill Road at Frontage Road, Ga. 60 at Aviation Boulevard and Ga. 52 at Magnolia Station Road in Hall County.
Also, black ice was reported by GDOT on the Lee Road entrance ramp to I-20 eastbound in Douglas County, on I-85 northbound at Buford Drive in Gwinnett County and on U.S. 78 eastbound at I-285 in DeKalb County.
Other early trouble spots reported by the AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB Traffic Center included East Cherokee Drive near Ga. 5 in Cherokee County and North Marietta Parkway near Cobb Parkway and the East/West Connector west of Austell Road in Cobb County.
“It’s definitely not a normal rush hour,” according to the Traffic Center’s Capt. Herb Emory.
Other problem spots in Cobb County at 7 a.m. included the ramp from I-575 southbound to I-75 and the left lane of I-285 eastbound at I-75.
In DeKalb County, a 6 a.m. wreck on I-285 southbound at U.S. 78 that involved an overturned vehicle was being blamed on an icy patch. That wreck was cleared by 7, but other icy patches were later reported on I-285 northbound at Memorial Drive and at Covington Highway.
In Bartow County, a serious wreck involving a tractor-trailer loaded with 49,000 pounds of liquid sugar and several smaller vehicles, continued to block all northbound lanes of I-75 north of Glade Road at 8 a.m.
MARTA began running trains 4:35 a.m., and began operating bus service on 30 routes at 7 a.m. Spokesman Lyle Harris said all bus routes, including the Mobility paratransit vans, will begin operating on a Sunday schedule at noon.
Cobb Community Transit planned to operate all local routes as well as CCT Express service on routes 100, 101 and 102.
Most metro Atlanta school systems are either closed because of the weather or were already scheduled to be closed.
— Staff writer Andria Simmons contributed to this article.