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DOT work may snarl back-to-school traffic
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School traffic in both Hall and Jackson counties may be affected by two separate Georgia Department of Transportation projects.

Department officials announced Tuesday that it would be unlikely that Atlanta Highway would be paved prior to Hall County students going back to school on Monday.

"We’re still paving Mundy Mill Road. But as soon as that is finished, we will start on Atlanta Highway," said Teri Pope, state department spokeswoman.

Department officials had anticipated completing both projects prior to school being back in session.

Russell McMurry, the department’s district engineer, cites inclement weather as the reason for the delay.

"Last week, the weather did not cooperate with us," Russell McMurry, DOT district engineer, said in a prepared statement. "We are planning to work every night this week except Friday and Saturday. It is doubtful paving on (Georgia) Route 13 will be finished before school starts on (Aug.) 10."

The work is associated with a larger, Interstate 985 project. In October, southbound lanes of the road were shifted to allow crews to rebuild a bridge. Traffic was shifted back to the original location on Tuesday, when state crews completed work on the bridge and also the new northbound exit ramp to Ga. 13/Atlanta Highway off I-985. Weekday work on the southbound portion on I-985 is expected to continue from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

"Crews will be building and paving shoulders and repairing the barrier wall. This work is expected to take about a month," said Pope. "Crews will then work northbound in the same area doing the same work."

The project is expected to be completed around Labor Day. Until that time, drivers in the area can expect traffic delays.

Traffic associated with the Jackson County school system also may be affected by a project planned for Ga. 124 from Braselton to Jefferson.

According to state staff, crews were to begin resurfacing today nearly 10 miles of the road from Atlanta Highway in Braselton to U.S. 129 in Jefferson.

"Crews will use pilot cars to lead vehicles through the work zone," said Pope. "The work includes resurfacing the roadway and adding two-foot wide paved shoulders to each side of the road. These wider shoulders will give drivers recovery area if they run off the road. It’s a safety feature."

Jackson County students return to class Thursday. Although there aren’t any schools along that portion of Ga. 124, Pope says that nearby Gum Springs Elementary, West Jackson Middle and Jackson County High School will be impacted by the work.

"Crews will begin (today) patching the damaged areas. They will not work Thursday or Friday and will resume work Monday," Pope said. "Work will occur weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. as weather permits. The work will take approximately six weeks to complete."

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