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Dahlonega study aims to identify traffic problems
Area around the square and Ga. 52/Morrison Moore Parkway needs help
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Built some 20 years ago to relieve traffic around the Dahlonega square, Ga. 52/Morrison Moore Parkway now needs some help of its own.

"There is quite a bit of increased traffic coming in and out of that road," said Steve Gooch, who represents parts of North Georgia, including Lumpkin and Hall counties, on the Georgia Department of Transportation board.

The DOT, Dahlonega, Lumpkin County and North Georgia College & State University are conducting a study to identify transportation needs and develop plans to improve traffic flow along Morrison Moore.

The study area includes Ga. 52 from Ga. 60 to Wal-Mart Way, intersecting roads and downtown Dahlonega.

The study is set for an August completion.

An advisory committee has been formed to look at the issue and has scheduled its first meeting, which is open to the public.

The meeting is set for 2 p.m. Oct. 28 at Dahlonega City Hall.

"We are working to take all the pieces of the puzzle and incorporate them into one master plan for the area," said Gooch, a Dahlonega native.

"We will develop short-term, medium-term and long-term recommendations to improve the flow of vehicular traffic, pedestrians and bicycle traffic, as well as improving access along (Ga.) 52."

The two-lane parkway has seen rapid growth over the years, including the opening of businesses, a Walmart shopping center and a parks and recreation complex.

Also, Lumpkin County just opened a 10,000-square-foot judicial center.

"The Mohawk Industries plant that closed two years ago has been sold to a chicken processing company in Dawsonville," Gooch said. "It's going to move in there sometime next year and create 100 to 200 new jobs."

Teri Pope, spokeswoman at the DOT's Gainesville office, said the parkway can get "very congested during the workday and on weekends, it can be miserable with tourists."

Gooch said the road might need a center turn lane, traffic lights and deceleration lanes.

"We have no idea how much (the project) will cost or when it would ever get funded, but it would have to be programmed into the state DOT budget just like any other project," he said.