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Eyes on the Road: Many folks not in the know on sales tax vote
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On a tour of the mountain counties last week, it became clear early on that many people don’t know that a July 31 vote is set on whether the sales tax should be raised to pay for transportation.

And that includes folks living or operating businesses right on proposed projects.

Once informed, the reaction was generally the same.

Their eyes widened for a moment and then they gave some kind of opinion, pro or con, on the matter.

Explanation of the tax — going to 8 percent from 7 in most area counties — is complex. In a boiled-down version, the statewide issue will be decided by an up-or-down vote in each of 12 regions.

Thirteen counties from Hall to North and South Carolina fall in the Georgia Mountains region.

And the extra tax, if approved, will last for 10 years or until a projected amount of revenue is reached, whichever comes first.

The program calls for 75 percent of revenues to go to regional projects and 25 percent for work, including routine maintenance, as decided by local governments.

Some residents are plenty familiar with certain projects, particularly those who are more politically connected or regularly follow the news.

And then, some projects, such as the widening of U.S. 129 in White County, have been on the books so long — way before the Transportation Investment Act of 2010, which gave way to the sales tax vote — that they have instant recognition among residents.

For those interested in the July 31 general primary election, July 2 is the voter registration deadline and early voting begins July 9.

Part of Cumming road is set for reconstruction this week

A 1,000-foot section of Bald Ridge Road at Ga. 9 in Cumming is set to be closed for reconstruction, starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

A signed detour route will direct traffic from Bald Ridge to Hill Street, South Hill Street, Allen Street, Ga. 9 and then back to the intersection.

“The detour was necessary because of the grade changes and shifting of Bald Ridge to align with Mary Alice Park in the finished intersection,” said Bayne Smith, district engineer with the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The section is expected to remain closed until Dec. 31.

The project was awarded to Baldwin Paving Co. for $1.5 million and has a contract completion date of June 30, 2013.

Rabun County bridge project on Ga. 246 is now finished

The Ga. 246 bridge over the Little Tennessee River in Rabun County is now open for use, a month or so ahead of the projected completion date.

Work was done on the driving surface, and the guardrail and concrete spillway were rebuilt.

The contract allowed 12 weeks for the work but only required seven, Smith said in a news release last week.

This bridge is one of three included in a $1.9 million contract awarded to Comanche Construction of Marietta.

Also part of the contract is work on the Ga. 53 bridge over Amicalola Creek in Dawson County and the Ga. 11 bridge over the Middle Oconee River in Jackson County.

The Jackson County project also is finished.

The contract completion date for all three bridges is Sept. 30.

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