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Eyes on the Road: DOT forging ahead on rights-of-way for work on US 129
Park and Ride lot at Braselton crossroads to close
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The Georgia Department of Transportation is moving forward on right-of-way acquisition for widening U.S. 129/Athens Highway to four lanes between Gillsville Highway in East Hall and the Pendergrass Bypass in Jackson County.

The DOT needs to buy 188 parcels for the 6.8-mile stretch and has closed on seven, said Teri Pope, spokeswoman at the DOT's district office, which sits off U.S. 129 and Gillsville Highway.

Negotiations are under way on 43 other properties, Pope said.

Right-of-way costs are estimated at $22.7 million. Construction is expected to cost $38.8 million, with work set to start in fiscal 2015, or between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015.

The project is considered a top priority for area officials, as the roadway carries a lot of commercial traffic.

U.S. 129 is now four lanes between Gillsville Highway and Interstate 985, so "this project completes the widening (of U.S. 129) from I-985 to Interstate 85 and from Gainesville to Athens," Pope said.

The project also is expected to make traveling between those destinations much safer.

It will call for "less hills and valleys and ... lessening the curves based on the speed design for the road," Pope said.

The road has been the site of many major wrecks over the years.

Last week, a 24-year-old Gainesville man, driving south in his Honda Civic, crossed into the northbound lane and struck a tractor-trailer truck just south of Wallace Road.

The car's driver died. The truck driver complained of injuries but was not taken to the hospital.

Park and Ride lot closing at Braselton crossroads Friday

A Park and Ride lot at the intersection of Ga. 211 and Ga. 124 in Braselton is slated to close Friday, Pope said.

Carpoolers are encouraged to use the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority's Park and Ride 925-space lot behind Walmart off Hamilton Mill Road.

The lot is in North Gwinnett, several miles from the Hall County line.

The old Park and Ride lot will become part of the rebuilt intersection of Ga. 211 and Ga. 124, Pope said.

The project, which is under way, involves right- and left-turn lanes on each leg of the intersection. Dual left-turn lanes will be built on Ga. 124 east toward Interstate 85 and on Ga. 211 south toward Braselton.
Two through lanes and sidewalks will be built for both state routes.

New signal equipment will be installed and allow traffic signals at the interstate ramps to be timed with the signal at the intersection of the routes, Pope said.
The project is costing $5.2 million and is expected to be finished April 30, 2013.

Utilities work forces section of Bark Camp Road to close

Work by the Gainesville Public Utilities Department is forcing the closing of Bark Camp Road between Kanaday Road and Bark Camp Drive, off Thompson Bridge Road in northwest Hall, officials have said.

The stretch of road was set to close to traffic Thursday and reopen March 9, according to the Hall County government website.

New light to be operational at Winder intersection Tuesday

A new traffic signal is set to be operational in Winder on Tuesday, if weather permits and testing goes well.

The new light is at the intersection of Ga. 211 and McNeal Road.

"Once the signal is operational, please use extra caution until you get familiar with the new signal location," said DOT District Traffic Engineer Brent Cook.

New DOT commissioner could be named Thursday afternoon

The State Transportation Board is expected to meet at noon Thursday in Atlanta to name a new commissioner.

A search committee has recommended Interim Commissioner Keith Golden for the post.

He would replace Vance C. Smith Jr., who resigned in September.


Jeff Gill covers transportation issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him: