The Georgia Department of Transportation has replaced some Interstate 985 signs that had been causing a stir in South Hall County.
The DOT said it had prematurely installed signs off northbound and southbound lanes at Exit 8, or Ga. 347, that indicated Lanier Islands Parkway in either direction. Ga. 347 between I-985 and Spout Springs Road will be known as Friendship Road until January 2015 or when a road project there now is completed.
The “signs are changed back to the way they were,” said Teri Pope, DOT spokeswoman, last week. “We had the old signs still, so (we) just put them up.”
The sign change removing Friendship Road had hit a sore spot with residents, such as Pam Puckett, who had fought with the Hall County Board of Commissioners to keep the road’s name unchanged.
Puckett, who lives in the Friendship community, which dates to the 1800s, was part of a group that gathered more than 1,000 signatures petitioning to maintain the name.
The DOT is widening Ga. 347 from McEver Road to I-985 and, as a separate phase, from I-985 to Ga. 211/Old Winder Highway. The segment between Spout Springs and Ga. 211 is new roadway that also will be known as Lanier Islands Parkway.
The McEver-I-985 portion is set to be completed by Nov. 30, 2014, and the I-985 to Ga. 211 segment is set for completion by Jan. 10, 2016.
Elsewhere on I-985, a blue business sign off Exit 22’s southbound entrance ramp has been replaced, after a couple of weeks in a crumpled condition.
Georgia Logos, which has an office in Norcross, “handles all aspects of that program,” Pope said in mid-August. “We will let them know of the damaged sign so they can replace it.”
If a sign is “critical to the safety or operation of the roadway/ramp, we would replace it immediately,” she said, adding, “(We) don’t know what happened to the sign or when it happened.”
Transportation group set to meet again Thursday
A Gainesville transportation focus group is set to hold perhaps its final meeting 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Fair Street Neighborhood Center, 715 Fair St.
The group has been meeting to give public input on the city’s Transportation Master Plan, which eventually will be integrated into the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization’s road improvement plans.
Thursday’s meeting could focus more on project priorities.
At its last meeting in July, the group informally decided to meet after the city’s consultant on the project, Norcross-based Pond & Co., had set priorities on projects that have been discussed, including ones along such key corridors as Green Street, Dawsonville Highway and Jesse Jewell Parkway.
Sam I. Baker, the MPO’s senior transportation planner, has said that “for the city projects to receive any federal funds, the first requirement is that they be included in the MPO’s financially constrained long-range transportation plan.”
The MPO — Hall’s lead transportation planning agency — already has a long-range plan in place, the 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan, which features $2.2 billion in funded projects and another $775 million in projects “without an identified funding source.”
The planning group will begin the next update of the long-range plan early next year, with a federal requirement that the update be completed by Aug. 8, 2015, Baker has said.
Jeff Gill covers transportation issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him: