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Road clearing plans across metro Atlanta

By Pete CorsonWilloughby Mariano and Lois Norder

During a major winter storm, local governments across metro Atlanta work to clear bridges and roads in their jurisdictions. Some plans include a prioritized list of roads and other plans are written as general guidelines.

Georgia Department of Transportation is responsible for interstates, state highways and other state roads, and has its own snow and ice plan.


This map shows the top priority roads in unincorporated Cobb County.

Some of the top priority roads include: Austell Road, Veterans Memorial Highway, East-West Connector, Powder Springs Road, South Cobb Drive, Atlanta Road, Dallas Highway, Roswell Road, Shallowford Road, Bells Ferry Road and Sandy Plains Road.


The county is responsible for roads in unincorporated areas, while other responsibilities fall to cities. Special attention is paid to bridges and roads where fire stations are located.

An excerpt from the plan:

During ice storms, all bridges are classified as first priority for de-icing and sanding.

All roads leading access to hospitals, fire stations, major collector roads, etc. are classified as priority roads.

All roads that are classified priority in each zone are monitored and receive maintenance as needed to keep them passable.

Some of the top priority roads include: Cascade Palmetto Highway., Cascade Road, Boat Rock Road, Butner Road, Fairburn Road, New Hope Road, Plummer Road, Riverside Drive, Flat Shoals Road, Great Southwest Parkway, Ben Hill Road, Old Fairburn Road, Fayetteville Road and Flat Shoals Road.

The full plan and prioritized list of roads can be found here.


An interactive map of Atlanta's priority 1 roads and bridges is here. Read a part of the city's storm response plan here.

The city's first priority is a network of routes that include access to hospitals, public safety facilities, major thoroughfares, major bridges and critical accesses. Minor thoroughfares and other designated routes are second priority. Residential streets are third priority and are treated only after first and second priority routes are completed.

The city's goal for its crews is to treat priority 1 and 2 bridges within four hours and then provide sustained attention. Priority 1 routes get initial treatment within 12 hours. The goal is to make all city streets accessible within 24 to 48 hours.

The plan says that in large storms, if contractors are available, residential streets may be treated before the primary routes are completed.


Excerpted from the county's plan: "Emphasis on road clearing will be given to bridges, major intersections and roadways and accident locations identified by Public Safety."


Plans in Henry County for snow and ice removal are prioritized as follows:

1. Roads in and around the hospital, Piedmont Henry, which include Rock Quarry Road and Eagles Landing Parkway, as well as roads, ramps and entrances on the hospital campus.

2. All of the emergency service buildings, including police stations and fire stations.

3. In the event that power is affected in the county, roads that service various utility facilities become a priority, i.e. Patrick Henry Parkway, on which a Georgia Power facility is located. If power is unaffected, these roads drop off as a priority.

4. Any roadway that emergency responders have difficulty navigating.

5. Major roads and intersections throughout the county based on calls from the Police Department and Sheriff's Department, with officers and emergency workers assessing how those roads are affected and/or developing.

Note: DeKalb did not respond to requests for information on road clearing priorities.

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