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Calvary Church Road project nears completion
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A construction worker moves a pile of dirt Tuesday on Calvary Church Road at Candler Road in Gainesville. - photo by SARA GUEVARA | The Times

Except for work remaining at Ga. 60/Candler Road, improvements along a three-mile stretch of Calvary Church Road are mostly finished.

“The contractor is going through (the corridor) cleaning up the shoulders, getting all the silt fences out,” said Jody Woodall, a Hall County engineer involved with the $4.2 million project.

Work began last year on the road, which serves as a main artery for trucks going to industrial sites, including the 175-acre Gainesville Business Park.

The two-lane, freshly paved road also is home to a number of county services, including the jail and animal shelter, as well as the Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center. The project stopped short of Chicopee Woods Elementary School, which sits about a mile from Poplar Springs Church Road.

Revenues from the county’s 1 percent special purpose local option sales tax paid for the project, which called for softening curves, smoothing out hills, adding turning lanes and widening lanes. The project’s emphasis was making the road safer for travel.

Work should finish by the end of June, as crews put in pedestrian crossing poles and stripe turn lanes on Calvary Church at Candler Road, Woodall said.

Overall, he is pleased with the end result.

“It rides out pretty nice,” he said. “We have had some good comments from the industries there.”

Elizabeth Umberson, president of ZF Wind Power in Gainesville Business Park, gave her thumbs-up to the work.

“When you have 18-wheeler trucks going up and down the road carrying heavy loads, it helps to make the transportation a bit safer,” she said.

“I know that on the gearboxes that we ship to our customer in Colorado, only one gearbox can go on an 18-wheeler, so we have a truck going out every day,” Umberson said. “And then, of course, we have all the supplier material that’s coming into the plant.”

The $98 million plant, which opened last September at 1925 New Harvest Drive, produces wind turbine gearboxes. It currently employs 150 people and has plans to add more than 100 jobs.

“The employees can appreciate the (new) turn lane,” Umberson added.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners also has lauded the project.

It “does a lot to start to incubate economic development in that corridor,” Commissioner Craig Lutz said in earlier comments. “Basically, when businesses come to Hall County, one of the things they’re going to be really looking for is transportation and the ability to get their products on the road.”