An early step was taken Tuesday to put the widening of Dawsonville Highway/Ga. 53 on a short-term project list.
Hall County area top elected officials voted to ask the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization, Hall’s lead transportation planning agency, to work on prioritizing the unscheduled project and seeking funding for it.
MPO officials will talk with the Georgia Department of Transportation “to see if we can find any money” for the project, transportation planning manager Sam Baker said.
Also, in 2020, the agency will update its overall transportation plans.
“That’s a time when we look at the whole project list,” he said. “We can change the project list we have right now.”
The project, now part of Gainesville’s transportation plans, calls for widening the four-lane road to six lanes between Shallowford Road and Ahaluna Drive.
Dawsonville Highway traffic particularly bunches up at Ga. 53 and McEver Road, but it also gets congested farther northwest to Ahaluna Drive, where commercial development has boomed. The road also is busy commercially heading east toward Gainesville.
Clyde Morris, a Hall resident who has pushed for improvements to Ga. 53, praised elected leaders’ move.
“It’s really needed, and we really appreciate you taking action,” he said.
“We told you we were working on it,” Gainesville Mayor Danny Dunagan said.
Also, elected officials making up the MPO’s policy committee decided that a study of the Dawsonville Highway-McEver Road intersection should include looking at potential Dawsonville Highway-McEver connector roads.
The transportation agency is seeking Federal Highway Administration planning dollars that trickle through the DOT to MPOs statewide.