Trooper force beefed up on I-75 through Cobb
by Noreen Cochran
December 07, 2012 12:30 AM | 7375 views | 9 9 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Georgia DOT board member Brandon Beach, left, introduces new State Patrol troopers added to control traffic on I-75.<br>Special to the MDJ
Georgia DOT board member Brandon Beach, left, introduces new State Patrol troopers added to control traffic on I-75.
Special to the MDJ
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MARIETTA — The Georgia State Patrol and the Georgia Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that 29 new troopers are patrolling Interstate 75 in Cobb County to keep traffic flowing smoothly.

Their job is to respond to and clear traffic incidents as quickly as possible between Fulton and Cherokee counties where, like elsewhere in metro Atlanta, a single fender-bender can wreck a rush hour.

Patrol spokesman Gordy Wright said GDOT is ponying up $9 million for the first year of the two-year program to pay for the new hires’ pay, training, equipment and vehicles.

“The first 29 troopers graduated in late October and are now patrolling in Cobb County,” he said about the Dec. 1 start, which will grow to a 35-member force. “The partnership also frees up local law enforcement to answer non-traffic related calls.”

The troopers will help keep traffic flowing “during peak times when traffic crashes occur,” and will also be writing tickets, Wright said.

“When not investigating traffic crashes, troopers will be enforcing traffic laws,” Wright said. “Fines collected by the courts on GSP traffic citations remain with the county and do not come to the Georgia State Patrol.”

GDOT spokesman Mark McKinnon said the program will expand in March and July to include 35 more state troopers to patrol I-85 in Gwinnett County and a five-trooper task force to investigate and reconstruct fatal crashes.

The program has been in development since 2011.

“The two agencies entered into an agreement last year where GDOT is providing funding for the new troopers,” he said.

Cobb County police are already adjusting to the beefed-up patrols.

“We’re sharing a radio frequency or two, which is cool, because all they have to do is switch over to talk to us,” said Sgt. Dana Pierce, the police department spokesman.

In addition, they are sharing the heavy lifting on investigations.

“The manpower they’re providing us with crashes on the interstate means they’re taking that under their belt,” Pierce said.

While the troopers also will pursue speeders and other dangerous drivers, they will most likely function as a deterrent, too, he said.

“It’s always good any time you see more law enforcement presence and visibility in an area,” Pierce said. “It’s a good thing. Some of us need to be constantly reminded to obey the law. They’re adding a layer of protection for citizens who are doing what they should be doing.”
Comments
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ConcernedTaxpayer 77
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December 08, 2012
Maybe sounds good on paper, but this will cause slower traffic. The GSP will be writing lots more tickets and drivers will slow to see what's going on, plus change lanes and the result will be more accidents. IMHO this is a revenue-generating move.
Good try
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December 07, 2012
It would appear that this week they actually made traffic worse. My commute was terrible 4 out of 5 days this week. I understand the concept of responding quicker and clearing the road, but when there are no wrecks, they are making traffic stops. The results of those traffic stops are blue lights flashing on the side of the road, which always slows down and traffic and causes congestion and traffic congestion.

They should talk to people who have made this commute for years and maybe they would understand the real problem.

For example, I 575 in Cobb and Cherokee is the same size road as the day it was built in the 1980's. What do you expect the result to be when the population grows by a factor of 8 or 10 and no new lanes are added? Its not rocket science.
A Taxpayer
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December 07, 2012
Good. Maybe they can start targeting these illegal alien drivers with no U.S. drivers license and no insurance. Shouldn't be hard -- there are plenty of

them in Cobb!
Traffic Tickets
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December 07, 2012
Expect more - that's the "real" reason - more revenue!

All levels of government are looking for more revenue - or else they would pull the red light cameras.
novel idea
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December 13, 2012
If people did not drive like idiots they would not make any revenue. Ever think about that? So your "real" reason is flawed. The goal is safety and if revenue can be made off of "unsafe" people so be it. 1089 people have died in GA so far this year in crashes alone. If the fear of paying money for driving bad encourages better habbits I am all for it.
JP Dawson
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December 07, 2012
Why does it matter where the money comes from? The troopers are there to help facilitate traffic flow - which falls under GDOT I would assume. If the state allocates the money to GDOT or directly to the GSP it all comes from the same source, tax dollars. I'm glad to see them. Maybe calm down some of the emergency lane and gore lane clowns.
curiousity answered
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December 07, 2012
I have noticed the increase in patrol cars. And now I know why. Thanks MDJ.
Bob Bummer
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December 07, 2012
GA DOT's budget is suppose to be for construction on state roads and highways. Why didn't the state alocate more money to the state patrol instead of the GA DOT having to cough of money in its budget?
Improved Flow
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December 07, 2012
To answer you question Bob, the goal of GDOT in this program is to open up traffic flow on major interstates. Troopers can respond to and clear a crash from the road quicker than local police due to the fact that they are not handling other calls. The original thought was to build another lane to make the traffic flow better. It is cheaper for GDOT to pay Troopers to clear the road than it is to build another lane. And they receive more for the money they spend. Another lane just gets blocked as well. Since the last few years that Troopers have taken over crashes in the downtown Atlanta Area traffic flow has greatly improved and GDOT hopes to accomplish the same on the surrounding metro interstates.
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