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Traffic fears alleviated ahead of movie shoot

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

McDONOUGH — Traffic in McDonough may not suffer a great deal when filmmaker Tyler Perry shoots scenes for a movie next week.

Filming is expected to continue on the Square Wednesday and Thursday for “A Madea Christmas.” McDonough Police Chief Preston Dorsey met Thursday with representatives from Tyler Perry Studios and the Georgia Department of Transportation to finalize traffic patterns for the shoot.

Dorsey said filming a movie in the city is a “complicated issue” because detours would affect traffic flow, businesses and emergency vehicles.

“We just want to do things right,” he said.

Mike England, district traffic engineer for GDOT, met with Dorsey at McDonough Police headquarters Thursday. England said he was concerned, at first, about Perry’s desire to shut down state routes in downtown McDonough for the entire two-day shoot.

However, he said, those fears were alleviated after communicating with the film crew.

“Initially the information we had was that they wanted to shut down the Square for a period of days,” said England. “Realistically, I don’t think the roadways or the community could have withstood that kind of delay.”

Griffin Street from Jonesboro Street to Hampton Street will be closed to vehicular traffic Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m intermittently. Streets that will be closed from noon to 3 a.m. intermittently during that time are:

• Macon Street from Keys Ferry Street to John Frank Ward Boulevard;

• Hampton Street/Keys Ferry Street from Tarpley Street to Macon Street;

• Jonesboro Road/John Frank Ward Boulevard from Tarpley Street to Macon Street.

The majority of filming is expected to take place Wednesday, said Jason Underwood, site manager for Tyler Perry Studios. He said the movie crew will be on the Square for 10-12 hours Wednesday, including 3-4 hours at the McDonough Welcome Center.

They will continue filming on Griffin Street for 1-2 hours before returning to the Square, said Underwood.

He said city and county leaders have helped make the film project a positive experience.

“I feel like McDonough has welcomed us with open arms,” said Underwood.