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DOT schedules open house about widening U.S. 129
Major construction continues on both ends of Ga. 53
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Hear Zell Miller discuss his new book, "The Miracle of Brasstown Valley."

Even as major road work continues to remake opposite ends of Ga. 53 in Hall County, the Georgia Department of Transportation has scheduled a public hearing for a proposal to widen U.S. 129 north of Gainesville and build two new bridges.

An open house will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Nov. 29 at Riverbend Elementary about the proposed widening of Cleveland Highway (U.S. 129) from Limestone Parkway to Jim Hood and Nopone roads in Hall County. The school is at 1742 Cleveland Highway in Gainesville.

"Georgia DOT engineers will be available to discuss the proposed project. There will be no formal presentation. Please come and see our plans and let us know what you think about it," said Mike Evans, chairman of the DOT board.

The project proposes widening that portion of U.S. 129 to a four-lane, divided highway and building new bridges at the Chattahoochee River and the East Fork of the Little River.

The project will straighten the roadway, leaving the existing alignment of U.S. 129 and taking a new path from the East Fork of the Little River to south of Nopone Road.

Meanwhile, work continues on revamping exits on Interstate 985 at Ga. 53 in Oakwood. The intersection of Atlanta Highway and Mundy Mill Road has been rebuilt and traffic on Ga. 53 was shifted over to new lanes this week.

The overall projected completion date is Feb. 10, 2010, and the construction cost is more than $74.6 million. The project includes adding Exit 17, which has opened.

As for Ga. 53 north of Gainesville, more changes are in store after the new portion of Sardis Road opened this week. A new traffic signal is in place at the intersection and a right-turn lane is now in use from Sardis onto Dawsonville Highway.

On Monday, the left-turn lane is scheduled to open, and traffic going both north and south will shift over to use two new lanes from Manor Ridge Drive to Stephens Circle.

Though the original completion date for the $29.5 million project was Dec. 31, contractor C.W. Matthews has asked to extend the deadline.

Officials with the DOT urge drivers to use caution in both construction areas as changes are happening almost daily in the two projects.

The DOT also said this week that lane closures will not happen in construction areas during next week’s Thanksgiving holiday period.

Those who can’t attend the open house for the U.S. 129 project may send comments to: Glenn Bowman, Georgia DOT, 3993 Aviation Circle, Atlanta, GA 30336. All comments will be considered in the development of the final project design and must be received by Dec. 13.

Following the open house, displays of the project can be viewed at the Georgia DOT District Office at 2505 Athens Highway in Gainesville. The DOT urges making an appointment to view the display by calling 770-532-5526.