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Weekend roadwork lessens for Easter weekend

Weekend roadwork lessens for Easter weekend

(WXIA) -- Only one major daytime closure will affect drivers on Atlanta's highways this weekend.

The leftmost lane on I-285 north will be closed between I-20 and Ga. 400 on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Crews must close the lane to remove a barrier wall.

"With only that one closure on I-285, everyone should have an easier time getting to their destination," Georgia Department of Transportation District Construction Engineer Shun Pringle said in a statement.

Nighttime closures will still occur in a handful of locations.

Three right lanes of I-20 west between Wesley Chapel and Candler roads will be closed for striping every night from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Two left lanes of I-285 north between I-20 and Peachtree Dunwoody Road will be closed nightly from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Crews will work to replace a barrier wall in that location.

Other scheduled closures for sweeping, drain cleaning and slab replacement include:

#WillRocks: 3-year-old leaves hospital after surgery


ATLANTA -- We have big news about a three-year-old with Downs syndrome who became a trending topic nationally last month.

Will Markwell, famously known by the #WillRocks hashtag, is out of the hospital after undergoing open-heart surgery three days earlier.

"Best result possible," said father Zack Markwell. "He had the surgery 8:30 on Friday morning. By noon he was down in the ICU, and 24 hours later, he was sitting up, waiting to go on a wagon ride."

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Just before noon on Monday, Will was wheeled out of his room at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.

Weekend construction to continue despite rain

Weekend construction to continue despite rain

(WXIA) -- Rain is in this weekend's forecast, but that won't stop Georgia Department of Transportation from working on scheduled road projects throughout the area.

GDOT District Construction Engineer Shun Pringle said the department expects more people than usual on the road, as school districts begin and end their spring breaks.

"Call 511 or look at a mapping website before you leave home," Pringle said in a statement. "Motorists, including spring breakers ... need to plan ahead to avoid delays."

The new flyover ramps on the Interstate 85/Georgia 400 Interchange project are open, but crews still need to perform a little last-minute work on them. Lanes will be closed in places.

Deaths decline on Ga. highways

Deaths decline on Ga. highways

(WXIA) -- The number of fatalities on Georgia's highways fell in 2013.

The Georgia Department of Transportation announced Monday that 1,186 people were killed in car crashes on state roads last year, 13 fewer than in 2012. It's the eighth year in a row the total number of deaths has fallen.

"The reduction in fatalities over eight years means that more than 500 additional persons will get to celebrate the life events that are special to us all," Governor's Office of Highway Safety Director Harris Blackwood said in a release. "We must continue to work toward reducing injuries and death on Georgia roads."

Georgia's worst year on record for highway fatalities is 2005, when 1,748 people died.

Nation statistics are not yet available. In 2012, the number of fatalities increase about 5 percent to 36,200.

Will Markwell enters Children's Healthcare of Atlanta


UPDATE:
Will's surgery has been postponed, his family told 11Alive early Friday. Will is okay, his family says. The surgery is now scheduled for Monday.

Original story:

Holding his Mom and Dad's hands, Will Markwell totters into Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston for a pre op visit one day before his surgery.

They check in and within moments the nurse calls them back.

"Good morning, Mister Will Rocks," the nurse says, reading Will's t-shirt.

This is the beginning of what will be a long day. Tomorrow will be the longest day, when Will's mom and Dad will wait outside his open heart surgery, wait for word that the hole in their son's heart has been repaired -- and he is fine.

Weekend traffic: All delays are weather permitting

Weekend traffic: All delays are weather permitting

(WXIA) -- Crews will continue working on the usual road projects this weekend -- as long as the weather cooperates.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is also warning drivers of heavier traffic than normal, due to school systems beginning their spring breaks.

"We apologize for the delays, and there will be big delays," GDOT District Construction Engineer Shun Pringle said in a release. "We understand that this is a spring break for some folks, but so are the next three or four weekends."

Weekend work begins at 10 p.m. Friday on the Interstate 85/Georgia 400 Interchange. Four left lanes of I-85 south from a half-mile north of Clairmont Road to North Druid Hills Road will be closed between midnight and 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, and from midnight to 5 a.m. Monday.

Pringle said all lanes will reopen Monday at 5 a.m. The closures are due to overhead sign replacements.

Unemployment rate drops to 6.9 percent

Unemployment rate drops to 6.9 percent

(WXIA) -- Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate fell to 6.9 percent in February.

That's down from 7.1 percent in January and 8.4 percent in February 2013.

Georgia Department of Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the decrease was due to fewer layoffs. However, the area still lost nearly 2,000 seasonal jobs last month.

DeKalb County's unemployment rate was 7.2 percent in February.

Metro Athens had Georgia's lowest unemployment rate, at 5.1 percent. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest, at 9.7 percent.