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Going still slow at Exit 13
65 mph speed limit to return soon
barrier 2 WEB
A crew from C.W. Matthews places a concrete barrier on the back of a truck Monday as workers remove the temporary blockade at Exit 13 on Ga. 400. - photo by Jennifer Sami

Ga. 400 drivers have grown weary of the stretch of construction around Exit 13 at Peachtree Parkway. Northbound, southbound -- it doesn't matter, the speed limit drops from 65 to 55 mph.

But not for much longer, said Department of Transportation spokesman Mark McKinnon.

"They're working on removing the barrier wall," McKinnon said Monday. "It's going to take them a few days, but at some point during this week, the speed limit reduction signs will be removed and it will be back up to 65 miles per hour."

In July, the transportation department said the project would be completed within a month. More than two months later, the orange barrels and construction signs remained.

Then on Monday, the final phase of removing the concrete barriers got under way.

The holdup appears to have been nothing more than confusion between the DOT and contractor C.W. Matthews.

Originally, the speed limit was dropped in October 2006, to increase safety for work near the Hwy. 141 bridge, which spans Ga. 400.

Since then, a separate project was started and completed, adding cable barriers in the Ga. 400 median to prevent crossover collisions.

The location of the cable barriers did not leave C.W. Matthews enough room to reinstall the guard rails that protect the bridge.

"When they did [the cable barriers] we couldn't put [the guard rail] back where it was supposed to go, so it took a while to get somebody to tell us where to put it," said Jeff Shropshire, vice president of the C.W. Matthews roadway division.

McKinnon said the delay was a result of error.

"It was supposed to be done [in July], but apparently it was installed improperly," McKinnon said. "We would not let them take the speed limit signs down or remove the barrier wall until that was corrected."

But Shropshire offered a different story, saying the installation was handled according to DOT specifications.

"We put it where it was supposed to go, as we were directed," he said. "They did have a little issue with the elevation of the guard rail.

"We went out and adjusted the guard rail [more than] two weeks ago and now that that's done, we should be able to take out that barrier wall," he said.

McKinnon couldn't confirm what had made the installation improper, but said the changes would be at no cost to the department.