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Frame The Importance of

Commercial Truck Insurance in Augusta, GA

  • Let's face it - truckers in America have always been the backbone of our great country. They still are in modern times. On any given day, thousands of trucks traverse our highways and local roads, delivering goods and products on time so that businesses and consumers have what they need to live life. And while commercial trucking can be an incredibly lucrative way to make a living and put food on the table, it can also be risky and expensive.
  • Whether you're the owner of a fleet, an independent trucker, or have a business that uses big rigs to transport goods, you need commercial trucking insurance to protect you and your client's investments, shield you from liability, and more.
  • That's where working with a reliable truck insurance agency comes into play. Unfortunately, for many commercial truck insurance providers, serving the needs of truckers is low on the proverbial totem pole. At Independence Insurance Agency, nothing could be further from the truth.

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percent The Commercial Truck

Insurance Agency in Augusta, GA You Can Trust

Much like you pride yourself on running a successful trucking business, Independence Insurance Agency prides itself on its years of experience providing truck insurance for hardworking men and women across the country. And in our experience, insurance rates for truckers are just too high - so high, in fact, that they eat away at their bottom line, making it more difficult to run a business and make a profit. Fortunately, at Independence Insurance Agency, we provide truckers the freedom they need from astronomically high insurance rates so they can stay on the road and keep driving America forward.

As one of the most trusted commercial trucking insurance agencies in the U.S., we understand the challenges that you face daily as a trucker. We also know how important it is to protect your business. That's why we go above and beyond to find you the best-priced coverage available, whether you're an operator, own a small fleet, a large fleet, or something in between.

Commercial Truck Insurance Augusta, GA

We Put Truckers First Because Others Don't

 Truck Insurance Augusta, GA

Truckers across the country choose to work with Independence Insurance Agency because we put their needs first before anything else. As experts in transportation insurance, we proudly offer a range of quality insurance products that are both practical and affordable for them. Our industry-leading carriers provide coverage that caters to the unique challenges faced by the trucking industry, ensuring that your business is protected at all times.

At our core, we are committed to finding the best possible price for your coverage without compromising the quality of service you deserve. The truth is, we understand how essential truckers are to the United States and take pride in making their insurance experience more streamlined and affordable.

One way we do so is by simplifying the insurance process. Our transportation specialists take the time to understand your specific needs and budget to tailor a comprehensive plan that works for you. You won't ever have to worry about cookie-cutter plans or uninterested agents when you work with our commercial trucking insurance agency. We take an educational approach to ensure that the entire big rig insurance process is quick, painless, and easy to understand. If there's something you don't understand, we're happy to take the time to explain. After all, the success and safety of your business are on the line.

Looking to the future, we are committed to providing innovative new products that cater to the ever-changing needs of truck drivers. As your one-stop shop for commercial trucking insurance, we are dedicated to your success, one policy at a time.

If you're a commercial trucker looking to ensure your rig, you can rest easy knowing that Independence Insurance Agency provides:

  • Affordable Trucking Insurance Plans for Any Budget
  • Exemplary Customer Service
  • Seasoned Transportation Specialists Who Customize Plans to Your Needs
  • A+ Carriers Across the Country
  • Simple, Easy Quote and Bind Process
  • Multiple Insurance Carriers Quoted to Find You the Best Rates
  • Truck Insurance for New Ventures

Call us or send us a message today to learn more about the best 18-wheeler insurance options for your trucking business.

chart The Commercial Truck

Common Types of Big Rig Truck Insurance in Augusta, GA

At Independence Insurance Agency, we offer several types of insurance coverage for local, intermediate, and long-haul trucking needs. Here are just a few categories of trucking insurance coverage that our agency offers.

As the foundation of your insurance policy, liability coverage is required by law in most states in the U.S. It provides coverage for damage or injuries caused to properties or other people if your 18-wheeler is responsible for the crash. Without liability coverage, it's almost impossible to drive a truck or run a trucking business without major legal consequences.

Having physical damage coverage is an essential component that shouldn't be overlooked. This insurance is responsible for covering the expenses related to repairing or replacing your truck in situations such as accidents, theft, vandalism, and other damaging events. By having this coverage, you can rest assured that your business won't be affected significantly by unexpected incidents, and you can continue running your operations smoothly even in challenging times.

For trucking companies, the goods they transport are crucial to their operations. To protect these goods from damage, loss, or theft while in transit, cargo insurance is essential. This coverage provides much-needed peace of mind for both you and your clients, allowing you to reimburse clients for any losses sustained while protecting your reputation and brand identity.

Non-Trucking Liability Insurance is designed to cover property damage or bodily injury that may occur during personal time when the driver/truck is not under dispatch. This coverage can be applied with or without a trailer and is added to a commercial policy as an endorsement.

While Independence Insurance Agency has built a reputation of excellence in serving the needs of truckers, we also offer general liability. Also known as Truckers General Liability, this coverage insures for bodily injuries or property damage that happen due to business activities that are NOT the cause of operating a truck. It covers accidents that occur in parking lots, rest stops, also while loading or unloading. General liability can also cover losses related to theft and vandalism. Most brokers and shippers will require this coverage to work with you.

Bobtail insurance is a type of coverage that is comparable to non-trucking liability, which is designed to offer protection when driving a truck without a trailer attached. This is commonly referred to as "bobtailing." With bobtail insurance, the tractor is covered at all times, even when it is not attached to a trailer, regardless of whether or not the truck is under dispatch.

Trailer interchange insurance is a must-have if you're involved in a trailer interchange agreement. This essential coverage offers protection for trailers owned by other parties that you're using under a contractual agreement. It covers damages caused by collisions, fire, theft, and vandalism, providing assurance to all parties involved.

Curious whether our commercial truck insurance agency in cityname, state offers additional coverage? The following options can be bound in your insurance policy:

  • Business Interruption Insurance
  • Reefer Breakdown Insurance
  • Occupational Accident with Contract Liability Insurance
  • Rental Reimbursement Insurance
  • Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Insurance
  • Towing Insurance
  • Electronics Insurance
  • Much More

Three plus 3 Safe Driving Tips to

Lower the Cost of Truck Insurance in Augusta, GA

Keeping your drivers safe on the road is crucial not only for their own well-being but also for the safety of other motorists and the financial stability of your business. The Department of Labor has identified the trucking industry as one of the most hazardous sectors in the U.S. In fact, trucking and logistics fleets are known for their high injury and fatality rates. By improving how safely your truckers drive, you can help reduce expenses related to claim payouts, accidents, and insurance premium hikes.

Whether you own a large fleet or you're the owner and operator of a single rig, keep these safe driving tips in mind to help lower your insurance costs.

Implement Preventative Maintenance Plans

Ensuring the safety of your drivers begins with the safety of their vehicles. Trucks and tractor-trailers that do not receive regular maintenance, such as oil and brake pad changes, are more likely to experience breakdowns while on the road. Telematics devices provide real-time insight into engine and odometer data, including fault codes.

This information enables your mechanics to create comprehensive preventative maintenance schedules based on mileage, history of previous breakdowns, days, and more. Additionally, they can receive immediate notifications for critical fault codes. By implementing routine maintenance and proactive repair schedules, you can ensure that your vehicles are in top condition, minimizing the likelihood of breakdowns, which can help reduce the cost of trucker insurance.

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 Trucking Insurance Augusta, GA

Practice Defensive Driving

This approach aims to mitigate the risk of fatal crashes and injuries by proactively identifying and responding to potentially dangerous situations and making informed decisions while driving. By adopting defensive driving techniques, drivers can reduce their likelihood of accidents, thereby minimizing the need for expensive repairs, claim payouts, and increased insurance premiums.

Some of the easiest ways for you or your drivers to practice safe driving include:

  • Be Wary of Blind Spots: Operating a reefer or tractor-trailer means driving high off of the ground, which can make visibility limited, especially in blind spots. To check your blind spot, look over your shoulder and out of your windows while changing lanes.
  • Be Ready for Emergencies on the Road: It's important for drivers to be ready for unexpected situations when driving, especially during long trips. They should be equipped to handle emergencies such as poor driving conditions or big rig breakdowns.
  • Use the Three-Second Rule: Truck drivers should try to maintain a three-second gap between their vehicle and the car in front of them. This means that the truck driver should reach a certain point on the road three seconds after the car in front of them has passed that same point.
  • Always Use Right and Left Turn Indicators: It's important for drivers to always use their turn signals when changing lanes or exiting highways, even if they don't see any other cars around. This is not only required by law, but it also reduces the chances of accidents occurring on the road.
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 Commercial Liability Insurance For Truckers Augusta, GA

Find Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), distracted driving is the primary reason behind truck driver accidents. Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road or the steering wheel is considered distracted driving. Distractions can come in various forms, such as eating while driving or gazing at a billboard outside the window. However, the most frequent form of distracted driving is the use of cellphones, specifically texting while driving.

Assuming you or your driver's rigs are equipped with dual-facing cameras, try reviewing footage of an unsafe driving incident. Coach your drivers on ways to correct their unsafe behaviors or look up ways to do so yourself if you're the one operating the big rig. The bottom line is that when your drivers aren't distracted, they drive safer. And when they drive safer, the cost of 18-wheeler insurance in cityname, state can be reduced.

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 Commercial Truck Insurance Quote Augusta, GA

Ensuring the safety of your drivers begins with the safety of their vehicles. Trucks and tractor-trailers that do not receive regular maintenance, such as oil and brake pad changes, are more likely to experience breakdowns while on the road. Telematics devices provide real-time insight into engine and odometer data, including fault codes.

This information enables your mechanics to create comprehensive preventative maintenance schedules based on mileage, history of previous breakdowns, days, and more. Additionally, they can receive immediate notifications for critical fault codes. By implementing routine maintenance and proactive repair schedules, you can ensure that your vehicles are in top condition, minimizing the likelihood of breakdowns, which can help reduce the cost of trucker insurance.

 Low Priced Commercial Truck Insurance Augusta, GA phone Call Now

This approach aims to mitigate the risk of fatal crashes and injuries by proactively identifying and responding to potentially dangerous situations and making informed decisions while driving. By adopting defensive driving techniques, drivers can reduce their likelihood of accidents, thereby minimizing the need for expensive repairs, claim payouts, and increased insurance premiums.

Some of the easiest ways for you or your drivers to practice safe driving include:

  • Be Wary of Blind Spots: Operating a reefer or tractor-trailer means driving high off of the ground, which can make visibility limited, especially in blind spots. To check your blind spot, look over your shoulder and out of your windows while changing lanes.
  • Be Ready for Emergencies on the Road: It's important for drivers to be ready for unexpected situations when driving, especially during long trips. They should be equipped to handle emergencies such as poor driving conditions or big rig breakdowns.
  • Use the Three-Second Rule: Truck drivers should try to maintain a three-second gap between their vehicle and the car in front of them. This means that the truck driver should reach a certain point on the road three seconds after the car in front of them has passed that same point.
  • Always Use Right and Left Turn Indicators: It's important for drivers to always use their turn signals when changing lanes or exiting highways, even if they don't see any other cars around. This is not only required by law, but it also reduces the chances of accidents occurring on the road.
Commercial Truck Insurance Augusta, GA phone Call Now

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), distracted driving is the primary reason behind truck driver accidents. Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road or the steering wheel is considered distracted driving. Distractions can come in various forms, such as eating while driving or gazing at a billboard outside the window. However, the most frequent form of distracted driving is the use of cellphones, specifically texting while driving.

Assuming you or your driver's rigs are equipped with dual-facing cameras, try reviewing footage of an unsafe driving incident. Coach your drivers on ways to correct their unsafe behaviors or look up ways to do so yourself if you're the one operating the big rig. The bottom line is that when your drivers aren't distracted, they drive safer. And when they drive safer, the cost of 18-wheeler insurance in cityname, state can be reduced.

 Truck Insurance Augusta, GA phone Call Now

check light FAQs About

Independence Insurance Agency

If you're looking for a commercial trucking insurance agency for your business, chances are you have some questions - and we've got answers. Keep reading to learn more about some of the most commonly asked questions we hear from truckers like you.

Why go with a "jack of all trades" when you can work with specialists who focus exclusively on transportation insurance? We have excellent relationships with major trucking insurance carriers and, as such, can provide the best assistance and reasonable rates.

Typically, companies will look at claims that date back three years or less.

We proudly work with more than 20 carriers to provide our clients with the most advantageous options at competitive prices, catering to the needs of owner-operators and big fleets alike.

Permit filings are typically done by insurance companies on the next business day. Federal (FMCSA) filings are completed online and updated immediately, while some states may take up to three weeks to process.

Independence Insurance Agency: Committed to the Trucking Industry

There's no question about it - you've got to protect your staff, your rig, and your trucking business with insurance. But choosing the right insurance partner isn't always easy. Thankfully, with Independence Insurance Agency by your side, you can rest easy knowing you're covered no matter where the road takes you. If you're in need of a commercial truck insurance agency in Augusta, GA that caters to truckers like you, pick up the phone and contact one of our transportation specialists today. That way, you can get back on the road with confidence tomorrow.

 Trucking Insurance Augusta, GA

Latest News in Augusta, GA

JagExpress Shuttle Service

Track the transit buses and get up to date schedule and route information by downloading the PassioGO App on your iOS or Android devices.The route begins at University Village, and continues with stops at Christenberry Fieldhouse, University Hall (Summerville), Student Center West (Health Sciences), and then reverses back t...

Track the transit buses and get up to date schedule and route information by downloading the PassioGO App on your iOS or Android devices.

The route begins at University Village, and continues with stops at Christenberry Fieldhouse, University Hall (Summerville), Student Center West (Health Sciences), and then reverses back to University Village.

The Blue Route follows a time schedule. Please refer to Passio-GO for times and departure locations.

Provides service for southern areas of the Health Sciences Campus. The Gold Route operates weekdays (except official university holidays) 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. There are four stops: Laney High Stadium/Lot 61, Antioch/ Lot 71, The College of Science & Mathematics, and the Dental College of Georgia Commons. The shuttle visits each stop approximately every 10-12 minutes.

UV to HEALTH SCIENCES MORNING EXPRESS

Provides direct service from University Village to the Health Sciences Campus each morning at 8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., and 10:30 a.m. The shuttle can be tracked as part of the Gold Route on the Passio-GO app.

JagExpress Routes for Fall 2023

Provides service to all four Augusta campuses when undergraduate classes are in session. The route begins at the Laney High School Stadium (Lot 61) and continues with stops at the Georgia Cancer Center, Student Center, and then continues to the Summerville Campus at Allgood Hall. It loops Summerville to stop at University Hall, travels to Lot 38 on Chafee Ave, and then returns to the Laney-Walker corridor.

Riders going to University Village, Christenberry Fieldhouse or the Georgia Cyber Center must request these locations to the driver. Conversely, riders needing a pickup from UV, Christenberry or the GCC must request the ride via the Passio-Go App. Once a request is made, the closest shuttle will be diverted for the pickup.

BLUE EXPRESS

The Blue EXPRESS route provides direct service between the Health Sciences Student Center and University Hall. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A Blue Express or Blue Route bus departs from University Hall and the westbound Health Science Student Center locations every 6 to 8 minutes.

Provides service for southern areas of the Health Sciences Campus. The Gold Route operates weekdays (except official university holidays) 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. There are four stops: Laney High Stadium/Lot 61, Antioch / Lot 71, The College of Science & Mathematics, and the Dental College of Georgia Commons. The shuttle visits each stop approximately every 10-12 minutes.

UV to HEALTH SCIENCES MORNING EXPRESS

Provides direct service from University Village to the Health Sciences Campus each morning at 7:35 a.m., 8:35 a.m. and 9:35 a.m. Operates during the Fall & Spring semester on days where undergraduate classes are held. The shuttle can be tracked as part of the Gold Route on the Passio-GO app.

LOT 55 ROUTE

Provides express service to parking at Lot 55. Operates weekdays (except on official Augusta University holidays) 5:30 a.m. – 11:59 p.m. There are three stops: Lot 55, AUMC Entrance B/West and the AUMC/Medical Office Building (Harper Street). The Lot 55 shuttle visits each stop approximately every 10 – 12 minutes.

SILVER ROUTE

The Silver Shuttle Route serves the core of the Augusta University Medical Center. It operates weekdays (except on official Augusta University holidays) from 5:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. Silver Route Stops include Chafee Avenue, Moore Avenue, Parnell Street, Harper Street, Georgia Cancer Center and the Health Sciences Campus Student Center. The Silver Route will visit each stop approximately every 10-12 minutes.

Track your shuttle today!

Aaron's Announces Opening of New BrandsMart U.S.A. Store in Augusta, Georgia

Third Georgia store will be first new BrandsMart location to open in the state since 2006ATLANTA, Oct. 18, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- The Aaron's Company, Inc. (NYSE: AAN), a leading, technology-enabled, omnichannel provider of lease-to-own and retail purchase solutions, today announced the grand opening of a new BrandsMart U.S...

Third Georgia store will be first new BrandsMart location to open in the state since 2006

ATLANTA, Oct. 18, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- The Aaron's Company, Inc. (NYSE: AAN), a leading, technology-enabled, omnichannel provider of lease-to-own and retail purchase solutions, today announced the grand opening of a new BrandsMart U.S.A. store in Augusta, Georgia, on Saturday, October 21 at 10:00 a.m. The 40,000-square-foot store – located on the west side of Augusta at 216 Robert C. Daniel Jr. Parkway – is the first BrandsMart U.S.A. store to open since the retailer was acquired by The Aaron's Company in April 2022.

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"Over the last four decades, BrandsMart U.S.A. has become one of the leading appliance and consumer electronics retailers in the Southeast, providing customers in Florida and Georgia with access to top brands at unbeatable prices," said Douglas Lindsay, CEO of The Aaron's Company. "We're excited to showcase BrandsMart's new brand image and store layout, along with our best-in-class array of thousands of items at exceptional prices from top brands across large and small appliances, consumer electronics, computers, furniture, and home goods."

BrandsMart U.S.A. currently has 11 stores in Georgia and Florida. The three Georgia locations are in the greater Atlanta area and Augusta, while the eight Florida stores are in the greater Fort Lauderdale and Miami areas.

"We are planning to open additional BrandsMart U.S.A. stores in new and existing markets in the future, and we are excited that our first new BrandsMart store opening is in Augusta. We look forward to becoming a vibrant part of the Augusta community and to delivering exceptional value and service to our customers each day," said Steve Olsen, President of The Aaron's Company.

In the company's tradition of giving back to the communities it proudly serves, BrandsMart is donating $5,000 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Augusta during the event. BrandsMart will also deliver $5,000 worth of products to the club in the coming week.

The grand opening festivities will run from 9:30 a.m. to noon on October 21, with the official ribbon cutting set to take place at 9:45 a.m., followed by the store opening at 10:00 a.m.

For more information on BrandsMart U.S.A. and the new Augusta location, please visit BrandsMartUSA.com.

About The Aaron's Company, Inc.Headquartered in Atlanta, The Aaron's Company, Inc. (NYSE: AAN) is a leading, technology-enabled, omnichannel provider of lease-to-own and retail purchase solutions of appliances, electronics, furniture, and other home goods across its brands: Aaron's, BrandsMart U.S.A., BrandsMart Leasing, and Woodhaven. Aaron's offers a direct-to-consumer lease-to-own solution through its approximately 1,250 Company-operated and franchised stores in 47 states and Canada, as well as its e-commerce platform. BrandsMart U.S.A. is one of the leading appliance retailers in the country with 11 retail stores in Florida and Georgia, as well as its e-commerce platform. BrandsMart Leasing offers lease-to-own solutions to customers of BrandsMart U.S.A. Woodhaven is the Company's furniture manufacturing division. For more information, visit investor.aarons.com, aarons.com, and brandsmartusa.com.

SOURCE The Aaron's Company, Inc.

Augusta University adds nearly $3 billion, 21,000 jobs to Georgia economy

Augusta University and AU Health provided a $2.94 billion boost to the state economy in fiscal year 2022, including employing 21,250 people, according to ...

Augusta University and AU Health provided a $2.94 billion boost to the state economy in fiscal year 2022, including employing 21,250 people, according to a new report from the University System of Georgia.

The impact includes $40.2 million and 286 jobs added by the AU/UGA Medical Partnership’s Athens Campus, while the Albany (Southwest Campus), Savannah and Brunswick (Southeast Campus) and Rome and Dalton (Northwest Campus) clinical campuses added approximately $8.6 million in economic boost, along with 69 jobs.

“Augusta University and AU Health are not only leaders in education, research and patient care – we are also proud of the economic impact our campuses provide in the Augusta region and throughout Georgia,” said Augusta University President Brooks A. Keel, PhD. “We are grateful for all our students, faculty and staff who help us fulfill our mission as the state’s leading university in health sciences, cyber sciences and improving the future success of students, and we look forward to continuing to add value to the lives of our fellow Georgians.”

The total enrollment at Augusta University for fall 2022 was 9,813, marking a 17.8% increase since 2015 and a 2.2% increase over fall 2021’s 9,606 enrollment total. As part of that overall increase, graduate enrollment rose 11.8% from fall 2021 and professional student enrollment increased within the Medical College of Georgia.

READ MORE: Augusta University posts second-highest enrollment growth among USG institutions for fall 2022

AU, which recorded the second-highest percentage of growth in the system, is one of just eight of the 26 institutions within USG to show growth last year.

“This is a pivotal time for our university, and that is shown in the continued growth of our student body, the addition of quality academic programs and the number of successful graduates those programs produce,” Keel said.

The $20.1 billion total economic impact for fiscal year 2022, up from $19.3 billion in fiscal year 2021, included $14.2 billion in initial spending by students and by USG’s 26 public colleges and universities on personnel and operating expenses. The remaining $5.9 billion is the multiplier impact of those funds in a local community. On average, every dollar of initial spending generates an additional 42 cents for the economy of the region that hosts the institution.

“USG’s 26 public colleges and universities, individually and collectively, make a significant economic impact across the state, helping to put Georgians to work while spending money in local communities and helping their regional economies support Georgia’s growth,” USG Chancellor Sonny Perdue said. “At the same time, our graduates are the real winners with this million-dollar deal. We’re focused on continuing to help all our students be successful as they use their degrees to prepare themselves for their future prosperity.”

The full economic impact report is available on USG’s website.

Tropical Storm Idalia live updates from Augusta: No roads in the area are closed

Below is the latest information on Idalia in Augusta and east Georgia. The Augusta Chronicle staff will update regularly. No road closures in Augusta area due to storm | 11:15 a.m.No roads are closed in the Augusta area due to an accident or other storm-related issues, according to online maps managed by Georgia Department of Transportation and ...

Below is the latest information on Idalia in Augusta and east Georgia. The Augusta Chronicle staff will update regularly.

No road closures in Augusta area due to storm | 11:15 a.m.

No roads are closed in the Augusta area due to an accident or other storm-related issues, according to online maps managed by Georgia Department of Transportation and South Carolina Department of Transportation.

Augusta area schools announce Thursday operations | 9 p.m.

Augusta area schools announced openings and closures for Thursday.

The Richmond County School System Wednesday night said after visiting several schools after the storm, schools will be open for a full day of in-person instruction Thursday.

Facilities and maintenance crews will be working through the night to monitor and address areas of standing water in preparation for students' return on Thursday, according to a news release from the school system. All after-school activities will take place as previously scheduled.

The Columbia County School District website states that until further notice there are no changes or delays in the school schedule.

The Burke County Public School System and Aiken County Public School District reported Wednesday afternoon that students and staff will not return to classrooms in the morning, according to previous reporting.

"With extensive rainfall expected later this afternoon and overnight, as well as high winds forecasted for our area, many roads, especially those in more rural areas, may be impassable early tomorrow morning due to localized flooding and downed trees," according to the Aiken County School District.

Idalia downgraded to tropical storm, flood advisory in effect | 6:17 p.m.

What started this morning as a Category 4 hurricane has weakened to a tropical storm by the afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center's 5 p.m. update.

Idalia is currently moving northeast at about 21 mph and this general motion is expected to continue throughout the night with maximum sustained winds of about 70 mph.. The center of the storm will move near or along the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina through Wednesday night, and then just off the North Carolina coast Thursday.

Despite the let up, Idalia's excessive rain has led to the National Weather Service issuing a flood advisory for the Augusta area until 8 p.m. Wednesday. Between 1 and 3 inches of rain has already fallen and more is on the way, leading to some flooding.

Fort Gordon issues early release, delayed start time | 5:50 p.m.

On Wednesday, Fort Gordon implemented max telework and/or liberal leave for all non-essential workforce. There will also be a delayed start time of 10 a.m. Thursday. The installation's service members and employees should contact their supervisors if they need further guidance.

Waffle House Index: Georgia diners remain open | 5:15 p.m.

Waffle Houses are known for their endurance: Staying open 24/7 rain or shine with very little standing in their way of making and serving hash browns. So, when something forces one or more Waffle Houses to close, it's a serious red flag for residents. This measurement of a disaster's severity is called the "Waffle House Index."

The chain's vice president of food safety and public relations Njeri Boss said Wednesday afternoon that they were not closing any Georgia locations, but they are sending some generators to diners in south Georgia. Some Waffle Houses in Florida have had to close.

Multiple Augusta-area schools staying closed through Thursday | 4:10 p.m.

School systems across Georgia were forced to close due to the hurricane, and some Augusta-area schools are staying closed through Thursday.

Burke County Public School System and Aiken County Public Schools reported Wednesday afternoon that students and staff will not return to classrooms in the morning. Burke County closed its doors after school Tuesday while Aiken County released its students early Wednesday.

Richmond County School System released students early Wednesday. Columbia County School District did not change its hours. No information has been released on whether or not students from these districts will be staying home Thursday.

Augusta offers sandbags, rides to shelters

Augusta officials announced on Wednesday a number of last-minute safety initiatives ahead of Hurricane Idalia's arrival.

The category 1 storm's predicted path shifted through the day, moving the eye wall closer to Augusta than initially projected.

Officials noted via social media that it is providing free sandbags while supplies last. Residents are limited to five bags. The sandbags are available at 2316 Tobacco Rd.

The city also announced Wednesday that Augusta Public Transportation is providing free rides to local shelters. The Augusta Emergency Management Agency would not specify where those shelter are located, but confirmed they are not city-designated shelters.

As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, no roads were closed by the city's engineering department due to flooding. However, the city received rain throughout the week, raising concerns about saturated ground.

During a flood, water levels and the rate the water is flowing can quickly change, according to the National Weather Service.

Hurricane Idalia live updatesfrom Savannah, coastal Georgia: Tornado warning issued for Statesboro

More:Traffic disruptions on I-75 in south Georgia due to Hurricane Idalia. Here's what to know

Hotels say those fleeing Hurricane Idalia are not traveling to Augusta

While Augusta typically serves as a safe haven for people on the coast fleeing severe weather, Hurricane Idalia’s projected path has left those searching for a safe place to stay looking elsewhere.

Augusta area hotels, such as the Crowne Plaza in North Augusta, said they have not seen a lot of out-of-town guests.

“Normally, when we have a hurricane or dangerous storms around the coast, we get people that are evacuating,” said Greg Greenawalt, general manager of the Crowne Plaza Hotel. “There might have been a few people here or there, but we're not getting a substantial influx of out-of-town guests.”

Greenawalt noted the hotel had a conference due to start Wednesday morning, which was canceled because many of the participants could not get to Augusta.

Flood watch remains in effect for Augusta | 3:15 p.m.

The National Weather Service issued an update at 3:09 p.m. stating flash flooding is possible in Richmond, Columbia, and Burke counties through Thursday afternoon.

Rainfall amounts will continue overnight, according to the NWS. Rainfall totals will range from 1 to 2 inches, with the heaviest rainfall ranging from 3 to 6 inches. Isolated areas may receive 7 to 8 inches.

Hurricane Idalia projected path

NWS flash flood tips for Augusta area

Augusta EMA said it will continuing pushing updates through its social media pages.

Legal approval puts takeover of Augusta University hospitals a step closer

3 of 3 |May 2, 2023; Augusta, Ga., USA; The Augusta University campus sign is shown at the entrance on May 2, 2023 in Augusta, Ga. Georgia’s attorney general says a plan to take over Augusta University’s hospitals complies with state law and may proceed. Marietta-based Wellstar Health System wants to take over Augusta University Medical Center and the neighboring Children’s Hospital of Georgia, as well as the rights to build a 100-bed hospital in Columbia County. (Katie Goodale /The Augusta Chronicle via AP)AT...

3 of 3 |

May 2, 2023; Augusta, Ga., USA; The Augusta University campus sign is shown at the entrance on May 2, 2023 in Augusta, Ga. Georgia’s attorney general says a plan to take over Augusta University’s hospitals complies with state law and may proceed. Marietta-based Wellstar Health System wants to take over Augusta University Medical Center and the neighboring Children’s Hospital of Georgia, as well as the rights to build a 100-bed hospital in Columbia County. (Katie Goodale /The Augusta Chronicle via AP)

ATLANTA (AP) — A plan for an Atlanta-area hospital system to take over Augusta University’s hospitals complies with state law and may proceed, Georgia’s attorney general ruled Thursday.

Marietta-based Wellstar Health System would take over the 478-bed Augusta University Medical Center and 154-bed Children’s Hospital of Georgia, as well as the rights to build a 100-bed hospital in Grovetown, in the growing Columbia County suburbs of Augusta.

Wellstar, Augusta University and the University System of Georgia said in a joint statement that “work remains to be done before the transaction is complete” but that all parties are trying to complete the deal this summer. The Federal Trade Commission must also review the deal and agree that it doesn’t give Wellstar unfair market power.

Wellstar would also take over the Roosevelt Warm Springs Rehabilitation and Specialty Hospitals that Augusta University currently runs.

Assistant Attorney General Alkesh Patel found after a hearing last month in Augusta that the deal complies with a Georgia law requiring that a community get fair benefit and guarantees of access to care from the transfer of a nonprofit hospital.

Patel wrote that the Augusta University Health System, the nonprofit entity that currently runs the hospitals, “will receive an enforceable commitment for fair and reasonable community benefits in exchange for its assets” as required by state law.

As part of the 40-year deal, Wellstar agrees to take on $234 million in debt and to pay at least $111 million in naming rights for use of the Medical College of Georgia name. The system will now be known as Wellstar MCG Health.

Wellstar is agreeing to invest up to $797 million in the system. That includes $395 million to build a new hospital and medical office building in Grovetown. Wellstar would spend $62 million at the existing Augusta hospitals in the first two years of the deal, and another $139 million in the next eight years. If the Augusta hospitals had at least a 2% profit margin, Wellstar would invest another $201 million. Some of that investment would come from Wellstar implementing an electronic medical record system.

Wellstar could pay more if MCG Health operations are sufficiently profitable, between $5 million and $15 million a year in mission support payments. The regents agreed to spend that money to improve the Medical College of Georgia, Augusta University or the health of Georgians, in consultation with Wellstar.

University system officials have been eager to shed responsibility for the health system’s finances while maintaining access to the crucial training that students of the Medical College of Georgia get at the hospitals. Augusta University President Brooks Keel, in the June hearing, described the health system’s financial situation as “not good,” and Patel wrote that after a multiyear process of seeking merger partners, Wellstar was the only suitor willing to go forward.

But some Atlanta-area leaders have fought the deal, saying Wellstar illegally discriminated against Black people and violated its tax-exempt status when it closed hospitals in downtown Atlanta and a southern suburb.

The attorney general’s office validated the health system’s analysis that it was worth $337 million to $394 million and had secured pledges from Wellstar to invest $555 million to $613 million, using the current value of future spending.

Wellstar promised to maintain a list of core services, including an emergency room, a top-level trauma center, a top-level neonatal intensive care unit, a pediatric intensive care unit, and cancer and stroke treatment for at least 10 years.

Wellstar could cut or end medical training programs only if university regents agree, after Wellstar shows there’s no viable alternative, or government funding has significantly decreased and Wellstar tried to maintain the programs

The documents outline that the Medical College of Georgia will work with Wellstar to create a regional medical campus at Wellstar’s flagship Kennestone Regional Medical Center in Marietta by as early as mid-2025.

Wellstar can extend the deal for another 40 years at its discretion. For the first 10 years, the regents would have a right of first refusal to buy back control if Wellstar sought to give control to a for-profit entity or a nonprofit based outside Georgia. The agreement can be terminated only if both sides agree, if one side does something illegal or if one side breaks the agreement in such a way that “also creates long-term corporate or financial harm” to the other side.

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