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Eyes on the Road: Paving planned for road that leads to Don Carter State Park

POSTED: June 2, 2013 11:42 p.m.

Hall County is gearing up to improve North Browning Bridge Road, which leads to the state’s new Don Carter State Park off Lake Lanier.

“The state has finished all their major construction (in the park) and doing their cleanup work now,” said Jody Woodall, a civil engineer with the county.

He was expecting the contractor to begin some work on the project last week but certainly to take place this week.

Crews “can get that knocked out pretty quickly,” Woodall said.

The county will pave the narrow, dirt-packed section of North Browning from Browning Place to the park entrance and resurface North Browning from Browning Place to Ga. 284/Clarks Bridge Road.

Originally, Hall officials had planned to do the work by May 1 to coincide with the park opening.

“Rains over the spring delayed that,” Woodall said.

Georgia Department of Natural Resources officials have said as much in giving updates on the 1,040-acre park off the northeastern reaches of the lake.

“We do not have a definite opening yet due to work that remains and staffing,” DNR spokeswoman Sally Winchester said last week.

When completed, Hall County’s first state park will feature 48 campsites with water and electricity, eight two-bedroom cottages, visitors center, playgrounds, boat ramps and a beach/bathhouse in a scenic cove off the Chattahoochee.

Also, it will feature a series of interconnecting trails throughout the park.

Ken Rearden, Hall’s public works director, has said the North Browning Bridge work also would involve some sight distance improvements and lane/shoulder widening.

The tree-lined North Browning Bridge Road is expected to accommodate a high number of RVs, he said.

Widening project on Spout Springs grows in scope and length

The Hall County Board of Commissioners has approved $151,971 for additional work by consultant STV/Ralph Whitehead Associates on the planned eventual widening of Spout Springs Road in South Hall.

The project now stretches from Interstate 985 in Flowery Branch to Thompson Mill Road in Braselton. Previously, the À-mile stretch of Spout Springs between Hog Mountain Road and I-985 wasn’t in the design plans.

Recent coordination with the Federal Highway Administration “has required the project to be extended,” states a May 8 letter from STV to Woodall.

“As a result, the design team will need to complete environmental special studies, document updates, road and drainage design, signal design, utility data collection and utility coordination along this new stretch,” according to Margie Shames Pozin, project manager.

Funding for the additional work will come from the county’s special purpose local option sales tax program.

The new stretch is in Flowery Branch city limits and is commercialized on both sides. Unlike most of the rest of Spout Springs, that section is four lanes, narrowing to two lanes as it travels past I-985 toward Thurmon Tanner Parkway.

According to Hall’s 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan, the project could take place 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.

Work to start this month on resurfacing Ga. 53/Dawsonville Highway stretch

The resurfacing of Ga. 53/Dawsonville Highway from Boling Bridge to Manor Ridge, a nearly half-mile stretch in West Hall, is expected to start later this month, said Teri Pope, Georgia Department of Transportation district spokeswoman.

The “contractor hasn’t given us a specific start date yet,” she said.

At least one area resident, Chris Kirk, is pleased by the news.

“That stretch ... is heavily traveled and is in need of a resurfacing,” Kirk said. “This past winter, road crews tarred and graveled the damaged spots in the road and that prevented further loss of pieces of topcoat.”

When the resurfacing is finished, “not only will the road be smoother, it will be quieter as well, (and) that’s a nice thing if you live close to the highway as I do.”

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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