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Weekend construction: Avoid I-20 if you can

Weekend construction: Avoid I-20 if you can

(WXIA) -- Drivers who plan to use Interstate 20 this weekend are encouraged to find alternate routes.

The Georgia Department of Transportation will work on several major projects this weekend on the interstate that cuts across Atlanta.

"We have three projects with significant lane closures on I-20 this weekend," GDOT District Construction Engineer Shun Pringle said in a release. "We are expecting long delays, particularly in Douglas and Rockdale counties, during the daytime hours on Saturday and Sunday."

This weekend's road projects, many of which come with heavy delays, include:

Mother locks 6-year-old boy in dog cage


DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. -- A mom and her girlfriend are charged with locking her son in a dog cage.

Douglas County Police Chief Chris Womack says the boy was left in the cage in the couple's yard for hours Saturday night.

Crystal Jean Hostetter, 24, and Sarah Elizabeth McClain, 30, are charged with cruelty to children and reckless conduct.


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Womack says the two locked Hostetter's 6-year-old son in a dog cage, poured syrup over him, covered him in cat litter and made him hold a brick in each hand over his head.

Beautiful weekends and road projects go hand in hand

Beautiful weekends and road projects go hand in hand

(WXIA) -- It's going to be a perfect weekend, weather-wise -- 11s on the WIZometer on Saturday and Sunday.

However, pretty weekend weather in metro Atlanta comes with a slight drawback: nighttime traffic projects.

"We are doing our best to limit daytime lane closures if possible in order to minimize the inconvenience to motorists," Georgia Department of Transportation engineer Shun Pringle said. "However, some work just has to be done during the day."

One brief closure will be the loop ramp from Northside Drive north to Interstate 75 south in northwest Atlanta. It will be shut down Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. so crews can repair a guardrail. Drivers are asked to use Howell Mill Road to access I-75 south during that hour.

Unemployment rate decreases in March

Unemployment rate decreases in March

(WXIA) -- Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate dropped to 6.8 percent in March, down slightly from February's 6.9 percent. The rate was 8.0 percent in March 2013.

Douglas County's unemployment rate was 7.1 percent this March.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said local employers created more jobs and laid off fewer workers. The number of new positions increased by 51,500 last month.

Metro Athens had Georgia's lowest unemployment rate in March 2014 at 5.1 percent. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 9.4 percent.

Nothing found after New Manchester HS evacuated


DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. -- New Manchester High School in Douglas County was evacuated Wednesday morning after a student texted a bomb threat to another student.

Douglas County Schools spokeswoman Karen Stroud said the text stated that a bomb was inside the school. The text spread among the student body and was eventually reported to police.

The school was evacuated at around 11:45 a.m. so officials could search it for a possible bomb, Stroud said.

Police finished searching the school and found nothing. Students were allowed back inside.

Authorities are investigating who sent the text.


Weekend roadwork lessens for Easter weekend

Weekend roadwork lessens for Easter weekend

(WXIA) -- Only one major daytime closure will affect drivers on Atlanta's highways this weekend.

The leftmost lane on I-285 north will be closed between I-20 and Ga. 400 on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Crews must close the lane to remove a barrier wall.

"With only that one closure on I-285, everyone should have an easier time getting to their destination," Georgia Department of Transportation District Construction Engineer Shun Pringle said in a statement.

Nighttime closures will still occur in a handful of locations.

Three right lanes of I-20 west between Wesley Chapel and Candler roads will be closed for striping every night from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Two left lanes of I-285 north between I-20 and Peachtree Dunwoody Road will be closed nightly from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Crews will work to replace a barrier wall in that location.

Other scheduled closures for sweeping, drain cleaning and slab replacement include:

Students charged with using pepper spray at Douglas HS


DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. -- Three students were charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly using pepper spray at Douglas County High School on Tuesday.

Students at Douglas County High School were escorted to the school's stadium and gym Wednesday morning after several students began feeling a "stinging sensation in their throats".

Complaints began during a class change at 10:15 a.m. in the Banks Building, where 250 students were present. Douglas County school officials say they believe pepper spray is the cause.

Both the fire department and EMTS were called in to the school. Fans were quickly set up to air out the building.

The accused students were allegedly identified by surveillance footage. They claimed that they found the can at school and didn't know what it was. They said they sprayed it and then threw it over the fence outside the school.