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Eyes on the Road: Gillsville gearing up for transportation project

POSTED: December 29, 2013 11:36 p.m.

Gillsville is about to wrap up design work on a transportation-related project Mayor Larry Poole said he hopes will “significantly improve both the appearance and functionality of our downtown buildings.”

The project calls for putting in sidewalks and pedestrian lighting along Ga. 52, extending 318 feet west of Wilson Drive and 410 feet east of Bryant Quarter Road.

“We will be refurbishing our little downtown to something of a plaza front with brick pavers, lighting and some landscape features,” Poole said.

The work also will improve accessibility under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. 

“We will be ... improving the overall safety, I think, for those who visit our town,” Poole said.

The project is being funded as part of Georgia’s old Transportation Enhancement Activities program, which has received money from the federal government.

The program had been in place “to enrich the traveling experience of motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians through enhancements to our transportation system,” states the Georgia Department of Transportation website. “Federal funding ... is allotted to provide aesthetic and functional improvements to historical, natural and scenic areas.”

The federal Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, a 27-month spending bill approved by Congress in 2012, replaced Transportation Enhancement Activities with the Transportation Alternatives Program.

The East Hall city’s project concept was approved in April 2008.

“It’s not unusual for (TE projects) to drag on for quite a while, as they include substantial overhead with all the design and approval processes, as well as uncertainty of when funds will be available,” Poole said.

Earlier, Gillsville thought financial help wouldn’t be available until 2015.

“Recently, we were notified that we would be funded for a start date next year and maybe in the May/June time frame,” Poole said. “So, we are fast-tracking the various items we are responsible for in order to move forward as soon as possible.”

Roadwork will improve safety on state roads

Resurfacing work is underway on Ga. 59 and Ga. 77 Connector in Franklin and Hart counties in Northeast Georgia.

The project involves widening for additional 2-foot shoulders on each side of the roadways, removing badly damaged sections of asphalt and replacing them with patches of new base and binder, resurfacing the roadways and applying a smooth driving surface.

Work hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays as weather cooperates. When working in school zones, work will end at 2:30 p.m. Also, work will end at 4 p.m. in downtown Lavonia.

“The addition of paved shoulders will greatly improve the safety of both (state routes),” DOT District Engineer Bayne Smith said.

Ga. 59 will be resurfaced from Brown Road to Wright’s Branch Road, a 6.72-mile stretch. Ga. 77 Connector will be resurfaced from Ga. 77 to east of Ga. 59, a 5.16-mile stretch.

The total project cost is about $2.8 million. E.R. Snell Contracting of Snellville is the contractor.

The project’s completion date is March 30.

Jeff Gill covers transportation issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him:



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