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Eyes on the Road: DOT property in way of planned road widening
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Spout Springs Road has one noticeable property owner that would be affected by a planned widening of the busy South Hall artery: the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The DOT operates a shop on a 3-acre site close to where Spout Springs approaches Hog Mountain Road and where a four-lane widening would begin.

The shop’s driveway and some parkway will be affected, as early drawings show the right of way coming within 10-12 feet of the building, said Teri Pope, the DOT’s spokeswoman for District 1, which includes Hall County.

The DOT will know more about the fate of the property “as design continues,” she added.

Homes, businesses and subdivisions also will be affected, as the Spout Springs widening figures to be a massive project. Except for the occasional left-turn lane, the road is mostly two lanes from Hog Mountain Road to Gwinnett County, the extent of the 6-mile, $50 million project.

According to a DOT website, plans call for the road to be widened to four lanes with a 20-foot median and a 16-foot shoulder containing a 10-foot multiuse path on each side.

“We are in the process of finalizing the alignment and potential impacts,” Hall County civil engineer Jody Woodall said in an email last week.

“At this time, it is a little too early to determine exact number of displacements or median openings.”

The concept report could be finished in September, with a public information open house in October, Woodall said.

If a July 31 sales tax referendum passes in the 13-county Georgia Mountains region, including Hall, and a 1 percent sales tax is added for transportation projects, the Spout Springs project would receive some $46 million.

The county would pay for the balance of the project through its special purpose local option sales tax money.

Also, the project’s construction would speed up significantly.

Under the sales tax plan, Spout Springs would be widened by 2015. If the sales tax vote fails, the project could be finished by 2030.

DOT Deputy Commissioner Todd Long, District 1 Engineer Bayne Smith and Srikanth Yamala, transportation planning manager for the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization, are set to give updates on South Hall projects, including Spout Springs, 8-9 a.m. July 10 at the Hall County Library System’s Spout Springs branch.

They are set to speak at a meeting of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s South Hall Business Coalition.

The event is open to the public at a charge of $5 per person. The library is off Lake Sterling Boulevard in the Sterling on the Lake subdivision.

The upcoming sales tax vote also will be discussed.


Crews will remove signs in the right of way

With election season upon us, it’s hard to drive a mile without seeing campaign signs everywhere you look.

Such a proliferation prompted the DOT last week to issue this reminder to candidates: Place signs on public rights of way and you risk having them removed by DOT maintenance crews.

“Unauthorized signs are against the law,” Smith said. “All signs on the state system, which includes all interstates and state routes, must be approved and permitted in order to be placed on our right of way.

“Signs that advertise yard sales, real estate for sale and/or political candidates are types of signs that are not allowed and will be removed.”

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

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