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Costs rising to replace 2 Hall County bridges
Final approval by transportation board set for Aug. 12
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Costs have increased more than 20 percent in two key Hall County bridge replacement projects.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is now projecting right-of-way acquisition costs to jump to more than $1 million from nearly $800,000 in replacing the Ga. 369/Browns Bridge Road bridge over the Chattahoochee River.

And construction of the Ga. 53/Dawsonville Highway bridge over the Chestatee River is now at $12.9 million, compared to an earlier estimate of $10.4 million.

The higher costs have emerged in a proposed update to the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization’s 2012-2017 Transportation Improvement Program.

The MPO serves as Hall’s lead transportation planning agency.

The update will be presented at a Wednesday meeting of the MPO’s technical coordinating committee, a group comprising area planners and engineers, with final approval set for Aug. 12 by the MPO’s decision-making policy committee.

Higher costs in both projects show the DOT is moving closer to the respective phase of work in each project.

“As part of development of the (Ga. 369) project, right-of-way costs are updated as a project nears that phase of work,” said Teri Pope, the DOT’s district spokeswoman.

And changes to the Ga. 53 project are “due to having better defined plans to estimate the construction cost,” she said. “We also have a better idea of market prices closer to letting.”

The heavily traveled bridges date to the 1950s, when Lake Lanier was built, and have been identified as needing replacement.

Right-of-way acquisition on Browns Bridge is scheduled this fiscal year, which began July 1 and ends next June 30.

Construction, which is estimated at $13.2 million, is projected to take place in fiscal 2017-18.

Right-of-way acquisition and construction is scheduled this fiscal year on the Ga. 53 bridge.

Another proposed update in the 2012-2017 program is that $5 million has been identified for right-of-way acquisition in the widening of Ga. 347/Lanier Islands Parkway between McEver Road and Lake Lanier Islands.

Arriving at that figure took a little time to complete.

“As we continued developing the project, more rights of way were needed,” Pope said, “and that caused a ripple effect of getting environmental approval for new areas in the project area.”

The 2½-mile project features a two-way left-turn lane, right-turn lanes as needed, multiuse path and sidewalks and a traffic circle near Lanier Islands Community Church at 6302 Lanier Islands Parkway, off New Bethany and Big Creek roads.

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