Just in time for the return of Freaknik

A major interstate construction project that slowed weekend traffic on the Downtown Connector last summer will resume this weekend, and transportation officials are warning motorists to expect heavy traffic and delays.

The work comes as group has scheduled events called iFreaknik Saturday and Sunday in southwest Atlanta and DeKalb County.

Another group calling its event Freaknic has events scheduled Friday through Sunday at nightclubs and other venues in the city.

Both events conjure up memories of the gridlock-inducing street party that enraged Atlantans until it was banned by city officials.

“We had hoped to finish this work last fall, but it just wouldn’t stop raining, and then it was too cold at night to place asphalt,” said Mickey McGee, metro Atlanta construction engineer for the state Department of Transportation. “Now that it is getting warmer, we’ll be able to complete this final section in preparation for the May 31 completion date.”

The “final section” is between 10th Street and the I-75/I-85 split near the Brookwood AMTRAK station, and the resurfacing is part of the $88.5 million project to replace the 14th Street bridge over the Connector.

At least two lanes of the Connector will be closed in each direction beginning at 9 p.m. Friday and continuing through 5 a.m. Monday, according to the DOT, while during the following two weekends, crews will only be paving on the northbound side of the interstate.

The resurfacing of the northbound lanes should correct the problem of water seeping through the roadway that led to patches of black ice this past winter.

“Crews will cut very thin horizontal grooves in the asphalt to drain any seeping water,” DOT spokeswoman Crystal Paulk-Buchanan said. “Then, crews will put the final layer of asphalt over this section.”

The DOT is encouraging those attending events this weekend other than Freaknik — such as the Dogwood Festival and Braves games — to take MARTA.

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