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Hall works to fund Spout Spring Road's traffic relief

POSTED: August 5, 2014 1:14 a.m.

Hall County officials assured a group of South Hall residents Monday night they’re working hard to speed up widening congested Spout Springs Road, but they also asked for help in the cause.

“I think it’s important for everybody to be rowing in the same direction on this one,” said Craig Lutz, the Hall County Board of Commissioners’ South Hall representative.

“I would recommend contacting every elected official at every level in making them understand that Spout Springs Road needs to be dealt with sooner than later.”

The road project came up as Srikanth Yamala, director of the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization, Hall’s lead transportation planning agency, spoke to the South Hall Republican Club.

For much of his presentation, he gave an overview of the organization and its planning processes, including current work on updating the long-range transportation plan by August 2015.

But Yamala got into specific projects affecting South Hall, particularly the widening of Ga. 347 from Lake Lanier Islands to Ga. 211 and the construction of a new Interstate 985 interchange between Flowery Branch and Oakwood, or Exit 14.

The hottest topic, though, was Spout Springs Road, which carries often hectic traffic
between Flowery Branch and Braselton.

The state has made the road a temporary state route so funding can be sped up on the work — widening it between I-985 and Thompson Mill Road in Gwinnett — but so far, no money has been set aside.

“This is one of the most important projects for Hall County, so we are doing everything we can behind the scenes to get this project moving in a much quicker manner,” Yamala said.

He told the group the $44 million road widening is the commission’s “top priority.”

“Trust me when I say we’ve been knocking on every single door to look at other funding opportunities,” Yamala said.

Richard Mecum, Hall commission chairman, told the GOP group — meeting in the Spout Springs Library just off the busy road — that he and County Administrator Randy Knighton met with DOT officials about the project four weeks ago.

Initially, the project would get about $30 million from the federal government over fiscal 2015 and 2016. But now officials are being told lack of funding is moving that to maybe as far as 2017 and 2018.

“The problem is the federal government, and we’re not sure what’s coming there,” Mecum said, referring to the ever-shrinking Highway Trust Fund and congressional efforts to reauthorize long-term transportation funding.

“The question is how do we widen Spout Springs and speed up that process?” he said.

One possibility is to do the 6-mile project in sections, such as from Hog Mountain Road to Sterling on the Lake.


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