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DOT moves forward on local projects
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Some $53 million in safety, resurfacing and bridge replacement projects are planned throughout Georgia, including some $6 million to $7 million for work in Northeast Georgia.

“Safety improvements continue to be essential components of the department’s statewide transportation plan,” Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Vance C. Smith Jr. said.

“Commuters need to be assured that the roads they travel and the bridges they cross are well maintained and replaced when necessary.”

The funding includes $707,617 for guardrail replacements around Gainesville-based District 1 — which comprises 21 Northeast Georgia counties, including Hall — as well as in District 2 in east central Georgia.

That work is supposed to be completed April 30.

“The guardrail is tough, but after repeated abuse over a decade, it can get so beaten down that it doesn’t absorb the impact of a crash well,” said Teri Pope, District 1 spokeswoman. “So, we routinely monitor the condition of all our guardrail and replace sections as needed, especially in our mountain areas. Guardrail saves lives almost daily.”

Jackson County has been singled out for two projects totaling nearly $2 million.

Projects include milling, resurfacing and shoulder reconstruction of a 3.6-mile stretch of Ga. 98 from east of the Norfolk Southern Railroad to the Madison County line and a nearly 5.9-mile section of Ga. 11 from the Barrow County line to north of the Ga. 11 Connector.

The Ga. 98 project is set for a Dec. 31 completion and the Ga. 11 project, May 31.

Also planned is milling, resurfacing and shoulder reconstruction of Ga. 197 in Habersham County between Ga. 385 and the Rabun County line, a 16-mile stretch.

The $1.8 million project is slated for a May 31 completion.

And a similar project is planned for Old Cleveland Road from the Hall County line to Ga. 115, an 8.8-mile stretch.

The $1.6 million project is set for an April 30 completion.

“Resurfacing is another maintenance activity,” Pope said. However, “because of our funding crunch, it really isn’t preventative anymore. (Federal) stimulus funds allowed us to resurface a small portion of our roads that desperately need resurfacing.”

Workers “are having to go down 6-plus inches and remove not just the driving surface but the foundations of our roads and rebuild them.”

In addition, the state is hoping to spend $905,973 toward an expansion of the Park and Ride lot on Interstate 985 at Ga. 20 in Buford. That work is set to be finished June 30.

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