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Eyes on the Road: Oakwood begins work on new road

POSTED: June 11, 2014 1:27 a.m.

Oakwood has started building Milton Martin Toyota Way, a road that will connect Ga. 13/Atlanta Highway to Ga. 53/Mundy Mill Road at Curt Lance Way.

“If you happen to be in that area, you’ll see that trees are down and grading is taking place,” Oakwood City Manager Stan Brown told City Council Monday night.

The project, basically an extension of Hughes Drive, could be completed by fall.

The work, which can be seen from Interstate 985, is expected to cost $2.4 million overall — $1 million for right of way and $1.4 million for construction.

It is being done in partnership with Milton Martin Toyota, which has acquired 20 acres off Ga. 13 near I-985.

Milton Martin has plans to move its dealership to that property from its current site at 2350 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville.

“The land is being cleared for both projects simultaneously, so you will begin to see progress for both,” dealership spokeswoman Emily Hayes said.

The dealership has said it is looking to hold a ground-breaking ceremony later this summer.

The new road would come out on Mundy Mill at the QuikTrip convenience store.

“We’re still working with QuikTrip on whether it’s going to construct that portion (of the road) as opposed to us getting it done,” Brown said.

“Since QuikTrip is going to (build a new store on) that site, there’s some advantage to them building that section of the road to our specifications and plans, but we’re still negotiating that.”

In an effort QuikTrip calls “scrape and build,” the Tulsa, Okla.-based company is planning to build a new, larger store while operating the current store.

Once the new store is built and ready to go, the old one will be razed.

The new store will be a “Generation 3” model, similar to the one recently built off Ga. 369/Jesse Jewell Parkway and U.S. 129/Limestone Parkway and across from New Holland Market. One key difference between the new and old versions, other than size, is the new store will have both front and side entrances, with the rear reserved for vendors.

The Regions Bank next to the store won’t be affected by the road project, Brown has said.

Speed limit to rise on Jackson-Banks road

The speed limit on a 25-mile section of Ga. 15/U.S. 441 in Jackson and Banks counties will be raised to 65 mph from 55 on Tuesday

After an engineering study, data support the change as most drivers are driving at 65 mph or faster, said Bayne Smith, district engineer for the Georgia Department of Transportation.

“Keeping traffic flowing at a consistent speed will increase safety along the corridor,” he said.

“We looked specifically at crash data and the roadway characteristics — the grade of hills, valleys and severity of curves. This section of Ga. 15 meets the requirements for raising the speed limit.”

The speed limit will not change in areas where it is lower than 55 mph.

National group seeks fixes to transportation funding in Congress

A national group that has formed to “tell Congress to fix our transportation system now” is holding a rally today in Washington, D.C.

The group, Fix the Trust Fund, is made up of “parents, businesses, commuters and consumers on a mission to make sure Congress finds a long-term solution to our nation’s roads, bridges, and transit systems,” according to its website.

“This summer, the Highway Trust Fund will go over the fiscal cliff. Now is the time for action.”

Officials in Georgia and Hall County have echoed similar concerns, as federal transportation dollars make up the bulk of funding for road projects.

In April, the head of Hall County’s main transportation planning group told area government leaders they should consider “critical needs” in terms of projects as the county moves forward on updating its long-range transportation plan.

“Definitely, we have a lot more needs, project-wise,” said Srikanth Yamala, director of the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization.

In past long-term plan updates, “we were fortunate not to have to go through a massive cutting exercise, but this time around, I’m afraid we will be there,” he added.

Jeff Gill covers transportation issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him:

jgill@gainesvilletimes.com

facebook.com/jeffagill

@JeffGTimes


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