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Spout Springs widening hearing set for Thursday

Commenting open through Dec. 21

POSTED: December 2, 2012 11:34 p.m.

The project is at least six to seven years out, but this week area residents will be able to view early plans for the new and improved Spout Springs Road in South Hall.

The Georgia Department of Transportation and Hall County are holding a public information open house on the project 5-7 p.m. Thursday at Prince of Peace Catholic Church, 6439 Spout Springs Road, Flowery Branch.

No formal presentation is planned, but Hall and DOT officials will be available to answer questions as residents view maps of the project. Also on hand will be Hall County’s consultant, STV/Ralph Whitehead Associates.

“We explored multiple alternates — from widening all on one side, symmetric widening or a combination of both,” said Hall County civil engineer Jody Woodall.

“The preferred alternate that we will be presenting is a combination of widening to one side and symmetric about the existing centerline.

Officials “looked at different factors, including right-of-way impacts and displacements, maintenance of traffic ... and cost to determine the alternate that had the least impact and was most cost-efficient,” Woodall said.

As the design process continues, the preferred alternate “could have minor adjustments and modifications, but it will be very similar to the approved concept.”

Spout Springs Road has been a major focus for the county for the past decade, especially as population boomed in the area and commercial began to take hold on the Flowery Branch and Braselton ends of the mostly two-lane road.

Some minor improvements have been made over the years, including left-turn lanes in high-traffic areas, such as around Spout Springs Elementary and Flowery Branch High schools.

A full-scale widening from Hog Mountain Road in Flowery Branch to Gwinnett County was one of nine projects Hall County had proposed as part of this summer’s transportation sales tax referendum, which voters thrashed at the polls.

If it had passed, the project would have been among the first ones built, widened by 2015.

According to Hall’s 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan, Spout Springs is set for widening between 2018 and 2030.

In 2011, when the project was set as part of the 2040 plan, the estimated total cost was $44.8 million. The inflation-adjusted estimate in that 12-year time frame is $58.3 million.

“Funds have not been identified in the state transportation improvement plan,” Woodall said. “... As the funds are programmed today, the construction would not be funded until (fiscal) 2019 at the earliest.”

Those attending the open house can make formal comments about the projects either in writing or through a court reporter. The state will accept comments on the project through Dec. 21.

Another public hearing will be held after the environmental impact document is finished on the project.

“This will allow the public to view the final layout and submit comments,” Woodall said.

Officials are expecting a large turnout at the meeting.

A similar meeting concerning the widening of Ga. 347/Friendship Road — also in South Hall — drew nearly 800 people, a record for the DOT’s 21-county District 1.


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