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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.

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.

Video shows teen punched in face at school


ATLANTA -- Charges have been filed after a student was punched in the face at school, and it was all caught on video.

Wednesday afternoon, a Gwinnett County father reached out to 11Alive News to show us a video of his son being punched in the face at his Gwinnett County high school.

David Egan is a sophomore at Parkview High School. His father, Daniel, says the student was leaving weight lifting class Tuesday morning when he was confronted by another student in the locker room, accused of stealing his tennis shoes.

11Alive News has not been able to contact the student who threw the punch to hear his side of what happened leading up to the incident, however, according to Gwinnett Schools PIO Sloan Roach, the student was charged with battery.

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.

Gwinnett County's unemployment rate was 6.1 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.

Ga. Race to the Top 'Year Three' Report

Ga. Race to the Top 'Year Three' Report

(WXIA) -- The U.S. Department of Education recently released its "Year Three" Report for the 12 states participating in the Race to the Top grant initiative.

Educational practices and successes in Georgia were highlighted throughout the report.

"We have taken on some major initiatives and our success is a direct reflection of the collaborative efforts between our department, other education agencies and the hundreds of participating teachers, principals and district leaders around our state," Dr. Susan Andrews, Deputy Superintendent of Race to the Top Implementation in Georgia, said in a release.

"While educational reform work is never easy, we are pleased with the significant progress that our state has made as reflected in this report," Andrews added.

Some highlights from the report include:

* Nearly 300 Georgia teachers were placed in state public schools from alternative certification programs.

Parkview High School student hit by car

Parkview High School student hit by car


LILBURN, Ga. -- The 16-year-old high school student hit by a car while walking to school last week has died.

Gwinnett County Police confirmed Monday morning that Jonathan Porter passed away over the weekend.

Porter, a student at Parkview High School, was struck Mar. 18 on Five Forks Trickum Road at Arlene Court in Gwinnett County.

Gwinnett County Schools spokeswoman Sloan Roach said Parkview High is less than a mile from the accident scene. Porter was reportedly crossing Five Forks Trickum Road when he was hit by a 1998 Buick Century. The teen was not in a crosswalk.

So far, no one has been charged in the accident. Gwinnett County Police Cpl. Jake Smith said the driver who hit Porter stopped and waited for police at the scene. Investigators do not believe speed and alcohol were factors in the accident.