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Ga. 369, Lights Ferry Connector projects receive funding

POSTED: May 29, 2014 1:23 a.m.

Intersection improvements on Ga. 369 through Gainesville and a new road featuring a roundabout in Flowery Branch got a combined $2.1 million boost in funding Wednesday.

State officials announced Gainesville will get a $522,125 grant for work along Ga. 369/Browns Bridge Road/Jesse Jewell Parkway.

The project calls for extending the eastbound right-turn lane at E.E. Butler Parkway, building a westbound right-turn lane at West End Avenue and building an eastbound right-turn lane at Auburn Avenue.

“We’re excited to get (the money) and are looking forward to starting the work to help (ease) some of these traffic woes we’ve got in our city,” Mayor Danny Dunagan said.

Also, he said, “it will implement some of our recommendations from our (master) transportation study” released last year.

Flowery Branch is getting a $650,000 grant and $950,000 loan for its planned Lights Ferry Connector, which will run between Ga. 13/Atlanta Highway and McEver Road.

The project calls for a 140-foot roundabout, with goals of spurring economic development in the downtown area and improving access to Aqualand and Hideaway Bay marinas off Lake Lanier.

“It’s a catalyst project for downtown,” City Planner John McHenry said. “We’re really pleased to be able to partner with the state and receive such a large grant and then have the opportunity to have a good loan to move this forward.”

The city expects to pay off the loan in $206,000 annual installments over five years, a total of $1.03 million, at an interest rate of 3.3 percent, McHenry said.

Another $267,000 from the city’s capital project fund “will cover remaining costs of the project,” he added.

As for the project itself, “we would like to be able to authorize construction by the end of the year,” McHenry said.

The local projects are part of a list of 20 transportation projects announced Wednesday by Gov. Nathan Deal.

They total $33 million in grants and loans provided through the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank, which was established in 2008 by the General Assembly and is administered by the State Road and Tollway Authority.

Community improvement districts, as well as local and state governments, are eligible for the money. Final approval is given by the SRTA board, which is chaired by Deal.

This year, a record number of governments and CIDs applied for funds to start or complete 58 new projects, officials said.


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