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DOT opens new Ga. 347 stretch
Motorists use Ga. 347 between Spout Springs Road and Ga. 211 on the first day the divided highway opened for travel.

One leg of a $38.4 million road project in South Hall is finished and open to motorists.

All lanes of Ga. 347 between Ga. 211/Old Winder Highway and Spout Springs Road opened at 9 a.m. Monday.

Ga. 347 westbound does narrow to one lane for about 300 feet before Spout Springs as Ga. 347 westbound becomes one lane crossing Spout Springs.

“It narrows to get you ready for the one-lane section,” said Teri Pope, Georgia Department of Transportation district spokeswoman.

Also, motorists could face “intermittent lane closures” during the day this week as crews finish up “punch list” work, she said.

Otherwise, the traffic “changeover went great (Monday) morning,” Pope said. “And now, crews can focus their work (on Ga. 347) between Spout Springs and Interstate 985.”

The Ga. 211-Spout Springs segment is part of an overall 8-mile project with a completion date of Jan. 12, 2016. When the entire road is finished, motorists will be able to travel on four- and six-lane stretches of Ga. 347 between I-985 and Ga. 211.

Traveling eastbound from Spout Springs, motorists will drive along four lanes until a six-lane stretch at the Northeast Georgia Health System’s River Place campus, where a 100-bed hospital, Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton, is being built. The hospital is set to open in spring 2015.

Initially, the DOT had hoped to finish the Ga. 211-Spout Springs segment in April, but the deadline was extended because of severe winter weather, including snowfalls and subfreezing temperatures.

“The new deadline was (Wednesday), so they’re opening two days early,” Pope said.

Weather has been favorable for road crews lately.

“Since April, we have been really dry,” Pope said. “We’ve had a lot of sun, and that allowed us to get the paving done really quickly.”

The new road features sidewalks, including a 10-foot multiuse path, except for a stretch where Celebration Church is building a driveway onto Ga. 347. The church’s main entrance is off Thompson Mill Road, which had served as Ga. 347 before the new road was built.

As for the Spout Springs-I-985 stretch, “we’re working primarily now on drainage structures and setting the grade of the new roadway,” Pope said. “There’s a couple of sections where you can see where the new road is going.

“And of course, erosion control is an ongoing part of any construction project.”

Other sections of Ga. 347 also are involved in roadwork.

Crews are expected to finish widening the state route between McEver Road and I-985 by Nov. 30, and improvements are being planned between McEver Road and Lake Lanier Islands resort.