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Weekend construction to continue despite rain

Weekend construction to continue despite rain

(WXIA) -- Rain is in this weekend's forecast, but that won't stop Georgia Department of Transportation from working on scheduled road projects throughout the area.

GDOT District Construction Engineer Shun Pringle said the department expects more people than usual on the road, as school districts begin and end their spring breaks.

"Call 511 or look at a mapping website before you leave home," Pringle said in a statement. "Motorists, including spring breakers ... need to plan ahead to avoid delays."

The new flyover ramps on the Interstate 85/Georgia 400 Interchange project are open, but crews still need to perform a little last-minute work on them. Lanes will be closed in places.

Deaths decline on Ga. highways

Deaths decline on Ga. highways

(WXIA) -- The number of fatalities on Georgia's highways fell in 2013.

The Georgia Department of Transportation announced Monday that 1,186 people were killed in car crashes on state roads last year, 13 fewer than in 2012. It's the eighth year in a row the total number of deaths has fallen.

"The reduction in fatalities over eight years means that more than 500 additional persons will get to celebrate the life events that are special to us all," Governor's Office of Highway Safety Director Harris Blackwood said in a release. "We must continue to work toward reducing injuries and death on Georgia roads."

Georgia's worst year on record for highway fatalities is 2005, when 1,748 people died.

Nation statistics are not yet available. In 2012, the number of fatalities increase about 5 percent to 36,200.

Weekend traffic: All delays are weather permitting

Weekend traffic: All delays are weather permitting

(WXIA) -- Crews will continue working on the usual road projects this weekend -- as long as the weather cooperates.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is also warning drivers of heavier traffic than normal, due to school systems beginning their spring breaks.

"We apologize for the delays, and there will be big delays," GDOT District Construction Engineer Shun Pringle said in a release. "We understand that this is a spring break for some folks, but so are the next three or four weekends."

Weekend work begins at 10 p.m. Friday on the Interstate 85/Georgia 400 Interchange. Four left lanes of I-85 south from a half-mile north of Clairmont Road to North Druid Hills Road will be closed between midnight and 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, and from midnight to 5 a.m. Monday.

Pringle said all lanes will reopen Monday at 5 a.m. The closures are due to overhead sign replacements.

Unemployment rate drops to 6.9 percent

Unemployment rate drops to 6.9 percent

(WXIA) -- Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate fell to 6.9 percent in February.

That's down from 7.1 percent in January and 8.4 percent in February 2013.

Georgia Department of Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the decrease was due to fewer layoffs. However, the area still lost nearly 2,000 seasonal jobs last month.

Douglas County's unemployment rate was 7.3 percent in February.

Metro Athens had Georgia's lowest unemployment rate, at 5.1 percent. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest, at 9.7 percent.

Ga. Race to the Top 'Year Three' Report

Ga. Race to the Top 'Year Three' Report

(WXIA) -- The U.S. Department of Education recently released its "Year Three" Report for the 12 states participating in the Race to the Top grant initiative.

Educational practices and successes in Georgia were highlighted throughout the report.

"We have taken on some major initiatives and our success is a direct reflection of the collaborative efforts between our department, other education agencies and the hundreds of participating teachers, principals and district leaders around our state," Dr. Susan Andrews, Deputy Superintendent of Race to the Top Implementation in Georgia, said in a release.

"While educational reform work is never easy, we are pleased with the significant progress that our state has made as reflected in this report," Andrews added.

Some highlights from the report include:

* Nearly 300 Georgia teachers were placed in state public schools from alternative certification programs.

Expect heavy spring break traffic this weekend

Expect heavy spring break traffic this weekend

(WXIA) -- Many colleges and universities will begin their spring breaks this weekend, which may contribute to heavier traffic than usual on metro Atlanta roads.

In addition to more people on the road, Georgia Department of Transportation crews will be out and about, working on scheduled projects.

GDOT engineer Shun Pringle said the largest project will be sign installation on Georgia 400 south between Peachtree Road and Sidney Marcus Boulevard. One right lane will be closed daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Work will also continue on the Ga. 400/Interstate 85 Interchange project. Several roads will be affected all weekend, including Cheshire Bridge Road, Sidney Marcus Boulevard and the Buford-Spring Connector.

From 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly, three lanes in both directions of I-285 will be closed for sign replacements between Riverside Drive and Peachtree Dunwoody Road.

1 killed in wreck on C.H. James Parkway

1 killed in wreck on C.H. James Parkway

POWDER SPRINGS, Ga. -- One person was killed in a fiery four-vehicle wreck in Powder Springs Monday afternoon.

The accident happened at around 3:30 p.m. on C.H. James Parkway between Lewis and Garrett roads.

Cobb County Police Sgt. Dana Pierce said the incident began when a Mazda tried to pass a Toyota pickup truck.

Danielle Garcia, 26, of Douglasville was driving her Mazda B4000 south on C.H. James Parkway when she tried to pass a Toyota Tundra driven by 61-year-old Bobby Banks of Powder Springs.

Pierce said the front of Garcia's truck clipped the back of Banks's, causing him to lose control and swerve into the northbound lanes. The Tundra collided head-on with an Infiniti G35.

The Infiniti then swerved in front of a Freightliner tractor trailer driven by 28-year-old Alhassane Dansoko of Decatur. The two vehicles collided, and the Infiniti burst into flames.