Fayette school closed Friday for students, 11 a.m. start for staff

Major roads OK, but side streets remain icy in shady patches

UPDATED 4:50 p.m. Jan. 30 — The Fayette County School System will remain closed Friday, Jan. 31 “due to concerns about the icy conditions of secondary roadways,” according to system spokesperson Melinda Berry-Dreisbach.

But officials expect all schools will be operating normally Monday.

“Safety of our students and staff is our first priority. We are asking our personnel to report tomorrow if they feel it is safe for them do to so. If possible, all personnel should report by 11 a.m.

System officials inspected several county roads Thursday morning and determined safety was the better part of valor. So kids get another snow day, while parents get another day of childcare dilemmas.

Now that everyone has had time to recover from Tuesday’s snowstorm and the resulting frozen roadways, things are starting to get back to a semblance of normality in Fayette County.

Major highways are passable and fairly clear, but emergency officials caution there are still trouble spots on local roads, with Hood Avenue leading into Fayetteville being a prime example. Any shady stretch of road is likely to still be frozen at this point, so caution is warranted by all motorists.

The temperature has risen into the low 40s as of 4:45 p.m. Thursday, which should help melt some of the remaining icy patches.

If you could channel all the heat from upset drivers and parents on Tuesday, the roads would’ve melted by mid-week and perhaps caught fire. A too-late early dismissal Tuesday caused many delays for school buses which had to traverse a number of icy spots. Fortunately there was only one crash, as another vehicle struck an empty school bus.

Due to the delay, the last school students left campuses before 7 p.m. Tuesday, county officials said.

Meanwhile the situation on the interstates in Atlanta was downright treacherous and scary as thousands of motorists were stranded for hours on untreated roads. For many, the normal hour-plus commute home turned into an ordeal lasting between three to 10 hours or more.

If you were one of the unfortunate ones who had to abandon your car on the interstate, pay close attention to the following: Effective immediately according to the Georgia Department of Transportation, Georgia State Patrol (GSP), Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA), National Guard troops and Georgia DOT HEROs will transport motorists to vehicles abandoned on the interstate during the recent storm and assist them in the process of retrieving their vehicles. Two staging areas for transport are open:

• Motorists who left their vehicle on I-20 and I-285 west should report to the Westlake MARTA station (parking area), 80 Anderson Ave. SW, Atlanta;

• Those who left their vehicle on I-75, the top end of I-285 and the Downtown Connector (I-75/I-85) should report to Mount Paran Church (parking area), 2055 Mount Paran Road, Atlanta.

• If a vehicle had to be towed already for safety reasons, officials will have a database to help motorists determine at which impound facility it is located. Authorities will provide transportation to the facility. Motorists should bring car keys and driver’s license to check-in.

With or without this assistance, all individuals are strongly encouraged to recover their vehicles before nightfall today as officials may be required to have any remaining vehicles towed so that roadways and shoulders can be cleared. These abandoned vehicles are hindering clean-up efforts and will present a safety hazard as travel resumes. State law (A.C.C.G. 32-6-2) stipulates vehicles considered by the Department and law enforcement agencies to be impeding the flow of traffic are to be removed by law enforcement if necessary.

(NOTE: A vehicle may not remain in the exact location at which it was left, especially if left in a travel lane. Georgia DOT has partnered with metro Atlanta towing companies to assist in moving such vehicles to the roadway shoulders.)