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Work could start in May on new road to government center

POSTED: March 22, 2013 1:00 a.m.

By late spring, visitors could have another way to reach the Hall County Government Center at 2875 Browns Bridge Road.

Hall County is seeking bids on the road project, with bid opening set for April 16 at the government center, which is in the old Liberty Mutual insurance building near McEver Road.

Plans call for the new road to stretch from the government center’s western parking lot — or the one closer to McEver — to Free Chapel’s parking lot, said Ken Rearden, Hall’s public works and utilities director.

The 925-foot road would run parallel to McEver and end just north of the church’s retention pond, he said.

A “pre-bid conference” is set April 8 for interested contractors, giving them “a chance to visit the site and ask any pertinent questions,” Rearden said.

If all goes as planned, work on the new road could begin in mid-May and end in early June, or a span of about 90 days.

The road project has been in the works since the county opened the government center in October, a move that resulted in most of the county’s operations consolidating under one roof.

The center, which sits on 33 acres, contains all of the county’s key operations and departments, such as the tax assessor and tax commissioner’s offices, as well as public works and development services.

It has 525 parking spaces, and those can fill up fast, especially during election season and Hall County Board of Commissioners and other government meetings.

The nagging problem for visitors and employees has been access, with the center featuring only one way in and out, and that entrance/exit is on the busy four-lane Browns Bridge Road.

In September, the commissioners approved an agreement with Free Chapel, its neighbor to the south, that trades weekend parking availability at the government center for access to the church’s McEver Road driveway.

Free Chapel will be able to use the government center lot as overflow parking during weekend services.

In exchange, the church has donated an easement to the county that allows employees and the public to exit from the center to McEver Road. Free Chapel will also pay for the upkeep of the driveway.

Commissioners have praised the agreement.

“They are giving us some valuable property,” Commissioner Scott Gibbs said.

Tim Kernen, administrator at Free Chapel, said of the arrangement: “We desire to be a blessing to the community and felt this could be an opportunity to be a good neighbor to the new Hall County offices.”

In return, being able to use the new road “as an alternate exit route to Browns Bridge ... could help reduce the influx of traffic onto McEver Road as our Sunday services dismiss,” he added.

“We hope the road will be a benefit to both parties.”

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