Rob and I had planned our Solar Eclipse 2017 viewing to the hilt: We would skip all the nuttiness in driving to the North Georgia mountains so that we could have smoother sailing on the highway and get as close to the Eclipse Totality as possible.
Traffic was widely expected to be horrible in areas where Totality was possible; anyone not living under a rock knew that they should be prepared for the extra volume on a normally sleepy weekend day.
What a weird traffic pattern. pic.twitter.com/3ovqKogqKo
— KB (@dicktoblerone) August 21, 2017
So instead fighting that I-85 traffic—which itself turned out to be a gynormous shitshow with 5-8 hour delays—we elected to drive east from Atlanta toward Augusta and stay overnight. The plan was perfect in theory, but we ran into the buzzsaw of cartoonishly bad roadwork planning by G-Dot.
This problem was 100% avoidable, too.
As we reached I-20 Eastbound, we were driving on a beautiful day with puffy clouds and lots of sunshine. About 30 miles into our journey we hit a traffic standstill; this would last for a solid hour until we figured out that one of the lanes had been closed.
Once traffic merged down to one lane, there were absolutely no workers in sight for at least a few miles. The road was closed and no work was being done—on a Sunday, too. (Writer’s note: I checked the G-Dot notification Twitter feed and at no point did they indicate there would be lane painting.)
We would end up passing a stray service vehicle here and there, but it was almost totally just an empty lane. We eventually inched up on a lane-painting vehicle, moving at the pace of cold molasses, putting down lane markings on a day that everyone who doesn’t live under a rock knew was going to be an insane day of traffic in Georgia.
My questions to Georgia Department of Transport: who authorized this lane painting project? Was it officially authorized? Why wasn’t the painting delayed to a day with lesser volume? Why would you deliberately pay workers Sunday overtime and inconvenience drivers on a day you knew would be problematic?
I for one would like an answer to these questions (send any and all correspondence here). Our trip should’ve been just over 2 hours; instead it was 5 hours of stop-and-go nonsense. Just so you could lay down lane markers?
Bottom line, G-Dot: a day that should’ve been totally drama-free and focused on celebration was filled with stress and angst. 🔵
Writer’s note: if you got stuck in this jam, please comment below and tell us about your experience. I’ll make sure to update here if I receive a reply. All photos by Rob O’Connor.
Will Pollock is an Atlanta-based freelance multimedia journalist focusing on pop-culture, politics, journalism & media, retail, real estate, travel, politics, and human interest.
He is the author of two books (Pizza for Good & Leaving Triscuit), with more on the way. Sign up for the mailing list, follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram—and check out the book links below.
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