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Weekend construction: Avoid I-20 if you can

Weekend construction: Avoid I-20 if you can

(WXIA) -- Drivers who plan to use Interstate 20 this weekend are encouraged to find alternate routes.

The Georgia Department of Transportation will work on several major projects this weekend on the interstate that cuts across Atlanta.

"We have three projects with significant lane closures on I-20 this weekend," GDOT District Construction Engineer Shun Pringle said in a release. "We are expecting long delays, particularly in Douglas and Rockdale counties, during the daytime hours on Saturday and Sunday."

This weekend's road projects, many of which come with heavy delays, include:

5 men indicted in 2 Kennesaw gang shootings

5 men indicted in 2 Kennesaw gang shootings


KENNESAW, Ga. -- Five Cobb County men have been indicted in two gang-related shootings in Kennesaw.

The defendants include Christopher Davis, 17, of Acworth; Alexander Market, 18, of Acworth; Brian McCary, 20, of Kennesaw; Timothy Reddie, 21, of Marietta; and Kristian Williams, 18, of Austell. They have been charged with aggravated assault, criminal property damage, firearm possession and violating Georgia's Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act.

All five men are believed to be involved in two shootings in Kennesaw's Legacy Park neighborhood. Kennesaw Police said the shootings occurred in November 2013 and January 2014, and no one was hurt in them.

Prosecutors said the defendants are members of the Piru Bloods gang, and that the shootings were a response to a young man's decision to leave the gang.

Six Flags to host Holiday in the Park this winter


AUSTELL, Ga. -- Six Flags Over Georgia will introduce a new holiday promotion this Christmas.

Holiday in the Park will extend the Cobb County theme park's season by 26 days, running weekends from Saturday, Nov. 22 to Sunday, Jan. 4. It will feature Christmas trees, decorations and more than 1 million LED lights, plus visits from Santa Claus and opportunities for guests to enjoy the park's most popular rides.

It's the second major addition this season to Atlanta's Six Flags park. Hurricane Harbor, a brand new water attraction, will open Memorial Day weekend.

More information about Holiday in the Park will become available in the coming months.


Beautiful weekends and road projects go hand in hand

Beautiful weekends and road projects go hand in hand

(WXIA) -- It's going to be a perfect weekend, weather-wise -- 11s on the WIZometer on Saturday and Sunday.

However, pretty weekend weather in metro Atlanta comes with a slight drawback: nighttime traffic projects.

"We are doing our best to limit daytime lane closures if possible in order to minimize the inconvenience to motorists," Georgia Department of Transportation engineer Shun Pringle said. "However, some work just has to be done during the day."

One brief closure will be the loop ramp from Northside Drive north to Interstate 75 south in northwest Atlanta. It will be shut down Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. so crews can repair a guardrail. Drivers are asked to use Howell Mill Road to access I-75 south during that hour.

Unemployment rate decreases in March

Unemployment rate decreases in March

(WXIA) -- Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate dropped to 6.8 percent in March, down slightly from February's 6.9 percent. The rate was 8.0 percent in March 2013.

Cobb County's unemployment rate was 6.3 percent this March.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said local employers created more jobs and laid off fewer workers. The number of new positions increased by 51,500 last month.

Metro Athens had Georgia's lowest unemployment rate in March 2014 at 5.1 percent. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 9.4 percent.

Father gets 20 years for beating infant son

Father gets 20 years for beating infant son


AUSTELL, Ga. -- An Austell man has been sentenced to 30 years, with 20 to be served in prison, for severely beating his 8-week-old son.

Joseph Rucker McFall, 31, pleaded guilty last week to five counts of aggravated battery against a child. He admitted to battering his son in the head, breaking both his arms and fracturing one of his ribs in October 2012.

McFall's son, who is now 20 months old, suffered permanent damage from the abuse. He is legally blind and may never walk, talk or behave normally, according to information presented in court.

The boy's mother spoke during last week's hearing, saying she struggles every day to care for her child. She has filed for divorce from McFall.

The defendant also addressed the court, saying his child's injuries were accidental. But Cobb County Superior Court Judge James G. Bodiford disagreed.

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: