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Eyes on the Road: Rainfall delays Ga. 347 work

POSTED: June 17, 2013 1:03 a.m.

This year’s deluge of rain has pushed off by nearly six months the completion date of the Ga. 347 widening between Interstate 985 and Ga. 211/Old Winder Highway.

The completion date has been moved to Jan. 10, 2016, from July 31, 2015, said Teri Pope, district spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation.

“It seems as the contractor started work in October 2012, the rains began and have continued sporadically since then,” Pope said.

“Since this project is still in the early stages of construction doing grading and leveling, rains have greatly slowed the work,” she said.

“These heavy rains saturate soils and can impact earthwork for a week or more depending on sunshine.”

So far this year, 36.23 inches of rain has fallen in Gainesville, according to the National Weather Service in Peachtree City. That’s compared to the average amount of 25.02 inches, leaving a more than 11-inch surplus of rain.

The first section to be completed is a new alignment of Ga. 347 between Spout Springs Road and Ga. 211, running in front of what will be the new Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton.

That work originally was set for an Oct. 31 completion but now will be finished April 12, 2014, or a nearly six-month delay, Pope said.

The 100-bed hospital, part of the Northeast Georgia Health System’s River Place campus, is slated for opening in the spring of 2015.

“As we understand it, construction delays should not affect the renaming of the road as scheduled in January 2015,” said Katie Crumley, spokeswoman for Hall County government.

Under protest from area residents, the Hall County Board of Commissioners voted earlier this year to change the name of Friendship Road, which runs along Ga. 347 between I-985 and Spout Springs, to Lanier Islands Parkway.

The stretch of Ga. 347 between Spout Springs and Ga. 211 also will be known as Lanier Islands Parkway.

Motorists might be pleased to learn that rain hasn’t deterred work on the western side of Ga. 347, which is being widened between I-985 and McEver Road.

The completion date for that project is still Nov. 30, 2014.

Crews “had base down on most of the project and (otherwise) were able to find places to work on the job and keep the project moving forward,” Pope said.

Transportation group to meet Thursday at center

A 10-member Gainesville transportation focus group is set to hold the fourth of five meetings Thursday at the Fair Street Neighborhood Center.

Gainesville is seeking public input as it moves toward the August completion of a transportation master plan by Norcross firm Pond & Co.

All the meetings are open to the public, including Thursday’s session and another one set for July 25, but the city also is planning a communitywide meeting 5:30-7:30 p.m. June 27 at the Gainesville Civic Center, 830 Green St.

All the meetings will evolve, narrowing in scope and focus, as the master plan progresses toward its estimated completion in August, city traffic engineer Dee Taylor has said.

By the third community meeting, set for Aug. 1, residents will be able to view a community plan, including specific projects.

The final plan will go before the Gainesville City Council, but its last stop is with the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization, the lead transportation planning agency for the area.

Eventually, MPO director Srikanth Yamala has said, the plan will wind its way to the MPO’s decision-making Policy Committee, with projects being integrated into the agency’s short-term Transportation Improvement Program and long-term Metropolitan Transportation Plan.

“And then, going forward, we would have to look at securing funding for those projects,” Yamala said.

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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