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Slow going on Ga. 400
Backup of projects keeps speed lowered
Construction 400 1 es
Afternoon traffic whizzes by the familiar orange construction barrels in the median of Ga. 400 under the bridge for Exit 13. The bridge work has been finished for some time, but the area will remain a construction zone, with a reduced speed limit and increased fines, until a guard rail project is finished in a month or so. - photo by Emily Saunders

It's been nearly two years since drivers on Ga. 400 began slowing for construction near Exit 13 at Peachtree Parkway.

The drop from 65 to 55 mph began in October 2006. The orange barrels and speed limit change were intended to aid work on the Hwy. 141 bridge, which crosses Ga. 400 at that exit.

But the bridge and ramp work have been complete for several months, leading many motorists to wonder what's the holdup in clearing the area.

Mark McKinnon, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said the recent delay stems from a separate guard rail project. It could be at least one more month, he said, before the speed limit returns to 65 mph.

"A lot of the roadwork signs are still there because they're installing a guardrail there on Ga. 400," McKinnon said.

"Weather permitting, they don't want to get there and have a bunch of holes dug and then have a downpour. In the next two to three weeks, it should be about finished up around there."

After the guardrails are finished, crews will replace the grass in the median, which could lengthen the time before the signs are removed.

"We just don't want to pull them prematurely," McKinnon said. "As long as they're working out there, we want people to know that they are working out there."

For traffic along Hwy. 141, the wait could be even longer. It will be nearly two years before the $50.5 million project to widen the highway to four lanes between McGinnis Ferry and Hwy. 9 is finished.

Starting July 16, C.W. Matthews Contracting Co., will be laying the top layer of pavement on Hwy. 141 from Ronald Reagan Parkway to Hwy. 9.

"There is still quite a bit to do, but they expect to have it done sometime by early 2010," McKinnon said.