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A wider Sardis relieves residents

DOT says project mostly completed

POSTED: July 6, 2008 5:01 a.m.
TOM REED/The Times

The construction along Sardis Road between Dawsonville Highway and Chestatee Road is mostly completed, and a new traffic light is now operational.

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For most of the two-and-a-half years that Stanley Gibbs has lived on Sardis Road, bulldozers and Trackhoes have been his neighbors.

On Wednesday, when no big trucks beeped or banged against the concrete outside of his house, Gibbs said all the ruckus had been justified by what was left behind at the intersection of Sardis and Chestatee roads.

"It’s 200 percent better, and that’s pretty good," Gibbs said. "That other crazy intersection — it was a mess."

Monday was the first day that the new traffic signal became fully operational at the intersection of the North Hall roads, ending the widening project on the road. But the labor pains leading up to its debut were not easy for those who lived in the surrounding area.

Some residents had difficulty getting in and out of their driveways, spent their weekends listening to the hum of tractors rather than crickets and most said they found themselves at a standstill at the intersection of Sardis and Chestatee more than once.

In the final days of paving on the now four-lane Sardis Road, residents who lived near the construction, which stretched from Dawsonville Highway to just beyond Hall County Fire Station No. 13, suffered slow, sometimes stalled traffic while paving trucks and contractors maneuvered through the busy intersection.

On a few nights, the paving and noise did not end with sunset as crews worked through the night to finish the paving.

The overnight paving did not bother Gibbs.

"At that time, I was just wanting it to get done," Gibbs said. "I didn’t mind, because I was ready for them to do what they needed to do to get done with it already."

Some of Gibbs’ neighbors expressed a similar relief. Osmar Urapl, an eight-year Sardis Road area resident who lives near the intersection, was not as bothered by the noise as he was the inconvenience of the construction at some of the road’s most highly traveled hours.

"(The construction) did get in the way," Urapl said.

But with construction crews absent — at least for now — Urapl did not hesitate to say the road, with two extra lanes and a median, has improved and is safer.

"It’s actually made traffic lighten up a lot," Urapl said. "... It’s a better intersection."

Aside from a few items, the widening project on Sardis Road has been considered complete since Monday, said Mark McKinnon, spokesman for the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The entire construction project stretched 3.24 miles from Dawsonville Highway at Duckett Mill Road to Lake Ranch Court and included the Sardis Road improvements and cost the DOT $32 million, DOT Spokeswoman Crystal Paulk-Buchanan said.

While the three-year project has come to a close, more construction is in the future for Sardis residents, however.

The state is planning to eventually extend the four-lane road to Thompson Bridge Road in North Hall as part of the 3.59-mile Sardis Connector, costing an estimated $22.5 million.

Gibbs does not mind a bit.

"I think it’s gonna be well worth it when they do get away from here," Gibbs said.



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