A $3.35 million project to improve one of Hall County's busiest industrial and government arteries, Calvary Church Road, should begin soon.
The contractor, C.W. Matthews of Marietta, has undertaken some tasks, such as utility relocation and putting up construction signs along the road, but otherwise, workers "should be moving in pretty soon, probably in the next week or so," said Jody Woodall of Hall County engineering.
The long-anticipated work — financed by the county's 1-cent special purpose local option sales tax program — involves widening lanes to 12 feet from 10 or 11 feet, adding turn lanes at major intersections and flattening out curves to make them less sharp for motorists to navigate.
Expect some trees and other vegetation to be removed in the process, Woodall said.
Much of the asphalt pouring will take place in June and July, with the project's "substantial completion" set for July 31, Woodall said.
"We want to try to do the bulk of the work while school is not in session," he added.
During the project, taking place between Ga. 60/Candler Road and Chicopee Elementary School, motorists should expect lane closings and possible delays.
Calvary Church was all gravel at one time, serving mainly as a rural community dotted with just a few houses.
These days, the two-lane road is home to numerous government-run operations, such as the Hall County Jail and Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center, as well as the new Gainesville Business Park at New Harvest Road.
"Part of the agreement early on with the development of the business park is Calvary Church would receive some upgrades, and this is the county's end of what needed to be done," Woodall has said.
Chicopee Elementary principal Hank Ramey said the project should have a safety impact for the school, as many parents, teachers and bus drivers use Calvary Church.
"Improvements to this road are surely going to make conditions safer, especially when you have days when it's raining or have ... frozen precipitation," Ramey said. "You have greater hazard on a narrow road that's curvy and winding.
"There are parts of this road where trees overhang and (areas underneath) stay a little cooler, and it takes a little longer to dry out. If the temperature drops in those areas, you're more apt to find black ice."
Woodall said the county might consider, at some point, improvements to Calvary Church between the school and Poplar Springs Church Road. That is, "if we see the majority of the traffic is coming in and out that way," he said.
For now, though, "the main focus is from Candler (Road) to the school, because that's where we're anticipating the majority of the larger vehicles to (travel)."