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Traffic

    The record toll rate on the I-85 express lanes was tied Thursday morning. For the second day in a row, the cost to use the lanes between Old Peachtree and Shallowford roads rose to $17, according to the State Road and Tollway Authority. The cost briefly hit $17 during the Wednesday morning rush before falling again. RELATED: New record toll rate set on I-85 express lanes in Gwinnett County The previous record, set in August 2018, was $15.50. Most drivers are not traveling the full 16-mile stretch through Gwinnett County and are paying less, according to Chris Tomlinson, the SRTA board’s executive director. The pricing is based on volume and is intended to keep the lane moving at an average speed of 45 mph, he told Channel 2 Action News on Wednesday. Since the I-85 express lanes opened in 2011, the authority board has established or adjusted rates four times. The latest change came in August 2018, when the board set a uniform toll rate across the entire express lanes system, which includes the I-75 express lanes in Cherokee and Cobb counties to the northwest and in Clayton and Henry counties to the south. MORE: Check rate changes in real time here The change was aimed at reducing congestion and providing “a more reliable and predictable commute for Peach Pass customers,” according to the agency. » For updated traffic information, listen to News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB and follow @ajcwsbtraffic on Twitter. 
  • Authorities have determined severe storms contributed to a crash that killed a Georgia State Patrol trooper and critically injured his daughter. “The Georgia State Patrol and the entire DPS family are heartbroken this morning,” the agency said in a Facebook post. “Tyler Parker was killed in a single car accident while off-duty.” The crash happened about 5:20 p.m. Monday on Arabi Warwick Road in Crisp County, which is 153 miles south of downtown Atlanta. “Initial indication is that Parker’s vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree,” the GSP said. Parker died on the scene. His 2-year old daughter was a passenger in the vehicle. She was taken to Crisp Regional Hospital in critical condition, the GSP said. There are no updates on her condition at this time. — Please return to AJC.com for updates. In other news:
  • A teen was killed after she lost control of her car and slammed into a median wall so hard, the force pushed her car across three lanes and into a tree, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office said. Haley Wood, 18, of Cumming, died on the scene on Ga. 400 North, sheriff's Cpl. Doug Rainwater said. She was a senior at Forsyth Central High School, the county school system said. Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters responded to the single-vehicle crash just before 6:45 a.m. Wednesday. They learned Wood lost control of the car as she approached the Majors Road bridge in a black 2016 Honda Civic, Rainwater said. At the time, roads were wet as rain moved across metro Atlanta. However, authorities aren’t sure if that is what caused Wood to lose control of the car.  “The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the Traffic Specialist Unit,” Rainwater said. In other news:
  • A Gwinnett County man was killed Tuesday in a crash in Oconee County that seriously injured his wife and the driver of the other vehicle. It happened just before 6 p.m. when a black Nissan GT-R tried to make a left turn from westbound Ga. 316 to McNutt Creek Road, the Georgia State Patrol said. “As it did so, the driver failed to yield” to a gray Ford Taurus heading east on the highway, the GSP said in an email.  Christopher Everett, 40, of Bogart, was driving the Nissan, and Travis Wright, 46, of Auburn, was driving the Taurus. His wife, 55-year-old Sheryl Wright, was in the car. They were taken to Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital, where Wright later died.  “Charges are expected to be filed against Mr. Everett pending completion of the investigation,” the GSP said. The crash area is about 60 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta. In other news:  
  • All lanes of northbound I-985 in Gwinnett County reopened shortly before noon at I-85 North because of a deadly pedestrian accident, police said Friday morning. The accident was at I-985 North at the Buford Drive exit. All lanes were closed earlier. Delays are still possible in the area. — Please return to AJC.com for updates. » For updated traffic information, listen to News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB and follow @ajcwsbtraffic on Twitter. In other news:
  • With hours remaining, traffic-related deaths in Georgia in the Christmas travel period have surpassed the 2016 total, according to state figures. There have been 11 fatalities on state roadways since the travel period began Friday at 6 p.m., according to a Twitter post by the state Department of Public Safety. The 102-hour window ends Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. Last year, eight people lost their lives during the Christmas period, officials said in a news release. However, the period is 24 hours longer this year, Georgia State Patrol spokeswoman Tracey Watson said Tuesday. Officials won’t have the number of crashes and injuries available until after the period closes, Watson said. Last year, the GSP reported 392 crashes with 208 injuries during Christmas travel, according to a news release. “Most fatal crashes during a holiday period in Georgia involve an impaired driver, speed, or the person killed not utilizing a seat belt,” Col. Mark McDonough, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said in the release. In some crashes, a combination of contributing factors is involved, he said. The New Year’s travel period, which is 78 hours, begins Friday at 6 p.m. and runs through Monday at 11:59 p.m. Know what’s really going on with crime and public safety in your metro Atlanta community, including breaking news, trial coverage, trends and the latest on unsolved cases. Sign up for the AJC’s crime and safety newsletter delivered weekly to your inbox. In other news:
  • Two Georgia Southern University students from metro Atlanta were killed in a fiery crash with a wrong-way driver on I-16 in Laurens County, authorities said. Jack “Deacon” Harris and Garrett Harris were heading east in a Saturn L200 when a Toyota Avalon hit them about 1:15 a.m. Sunday, the Georgia State Patrol told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  “The Saturn was engulfed in flames and the occupants succumbed to their injuries,” the GSP said.  GSP officials said the driver of the Toyota, Jared Adler, 27, of Sandy Springs, was taken to Navicent Health Medical Center in Macon with injuries. His condition is unknown at this time. According to The George-Anne, the university newspaper, the brothers were returning to the Georgia Southern campus after Thanksgiving break in metro Atlanta.  “They had a little bit of homework to finish up (and) wanted to spend time with their friends before classes started Monday,” their father Jack Harris told the student newspaper. “So they left to drive at night thinking traffic would be better and this accident happened.' You can read the full story at MyAJC.com. RELATED: ‘Devil’s Highway’: I-16 near Savannah the scene of horrific crashes RELATED: Accidents fuel debate over trucking safety ALSO: Survivor gets $15M in deadly pileup that killed nursing students  MORE: Truck dangers A GoFundMe page has been established to assist the family of the brothers with funeral expenses. The family has scheduled a memorial service at 4 p.m. Saturday at Cauble Park on Lake Acworth in Acworth. In other news:
  • Fog was a factor in a multi-vehicle crash in Hall County that sent nine people to a local hospital Monday morning, police said. About 8 a.m., an 18-wheeler slammed into stopped vehicles, causing 10 to 12 cars to crash on Queen City Parkway near West Ridge Road, Gainesville police Cpl. Jessica Van told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. At the time, metro Atlanta was under a dense fog advisory, and visibility was less than a mile. The injured were taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center, according to police. The conditions of most were not known. “We know at least one is being treated for serious injuries,” Van said. Queen City Parkway was shut down in both directions for hours, according to the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center. Southbound lanes reopened just before noon. Northbound lanes reopened about 1 p.m. — Please return to AJC.com for updates. » For updated traffic information, listen to News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB and follow @ajcwsbtraffic on Twitter. In other news:
  • Expect single lane closures on State Route 53 between Dogwood Trail and Little Hall Park overnight on Thurs. July 20 from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. The Georgia Department of Transportation says that concrete footings will be poured that will serve as supports for the substructure of the new bridge. The work will be done if the weather permits. GDOT asks you to slow down when approaching the work zone and drive alert while traveling through it. More from the Georgia Department of Transportation The Bolling Bridge replacement project consists of .793 miles of construction for widening and realignment of State Route 53 beginning at Dogwood Path and extending east of the Chestatee River just a little before Little Hall Park, including construction of the bridge, and approaches over Chestatee (Lake Lanier). The project was awarded to Scott Bridge Company of Opelika, AL in March of 2016 and has a current completion date of March 2019. The $19.7 million project is 22 percent complete and will build a new bridge beside the current one. Once the construction of the new structure is complete, traffic will be moved to it, and the former bridge built in 1956 will be destroyed. 
  • A new state law in Ohio allows drivers to go through red lights in certain situations, but police are cautioning motorists. The new state law allows drivers to go through red lights if the light isn’t working properly and only if the intersection is clear of oncoming traffic. Police said drivers still need to stop, and they can’t drive through a red light just because they are in a hurry. >> Read more trending stories 'This is about safety,' Kettering, Ohio, police Officer John Jung said. 'We don’t want the driver to approach a red light, wait for a couple of seconds and determine that it is malfunctioning and then blow through a red light. You still have to proceed with caution.' Jung said city traffic laws are not always the same as state laws, so drivers need to make sure the law applies to the city in which they are driving.  If a driver does go through a red light, he or she has the burden to prove it that was malfunctioning.  'If they cause a traffic accident and it turns out the light was working properly, they will be the at-fault driver,' Jung said. Driving instructors said the new law has caused some confusion, with instructors needing to tell new drivers that it isn’t a free pass to run every light. 'This isn’t going to be an everyday occurrence,' said D&D Driving School training manager Brent Praeter. 'This isn’t something they need to do commonly at intersections when the light is red and feel (they) like they have been sitting for too long.' If a motorist does come across a light that isn’t working, he or she is advised to call police.