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Eyes on the Road: New traffic light to operate at shopping center
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Weather permitting and if testing goes well, a new traffic signal is set to start operating midmorning Thursday at Ga. 11/Limestone Parkway and the entrance to the New Holland Marketplace.

David Olson, district traffic engineer for the Georgia Department of Transportation, advised motorists to travel slowly “through the area while crews finish their work.”

“Once the signal is operational, be cautious until you get familiar with the changes,” he said. “Other drivers may be surprised by the new signal, so give yourself plenty of space between you and the driver in front of you.”

The Kroger grocery store anchoring the new shopping center, which also sits off Ga. 369/Jesse Jewell Parkway, is set for a grand opening celebration on March 12.

The development prompted other road improvements, including signal upgrades on Jesse Jewell at Limestone and White Sulphur Road.

Also, the developer has built a new road, Textile Way, on a 12-acre site across from the shopping center. That road loops through the property, running from Limestone at Jesse Jewell to White Sulphur at Jesse Jewell.

DOT to hold public meeting on bridge project detour

The DOT plans to hold a public information open house March 13 to discuss the proposed detour in a Banks County bridge replacement project.

The project involves a new Ga. 63 bridge over the Broad River’s Middle Fork, 9-10 miles northeast of Homer.

The open house is set for 5-7 p.m. at the Banks County Courthouse Annex, 150 Hudson St., Homer.

Georgia DOT engineers will be available to discuss the proposed project and detour details. There will be no formal presentation.

The existing bridge was built in 1962 and does not meet current design standards. It is 304 feet long, 29 feet wide and does not have shoulders.

The new bridge will be 250 feet long and 40 feet wide, featuring 12-foot lanes and 8-foot shoulders.

The detour will allow construction to move about twice as fast as building a parallel bridge and allowing traffic to use the existing bridge until the new structure is complete, officials said.

The move also means a savings of at least $150,000.

Passenger vehicle traffic west of the bridge will use the 5.9-mile signed detour route starting northbound on Ga. 63, then west onto Wells Road and north onto Boling Road. Then, traffic will turn east on Damascus Road to Ga. 63.

Passenger vehicle traffic east of the bridge will have a 5-mile signed detour route beginning north on Ga. 63 then east onto Banks Academy Road and north to County Road 88/Prospect/Plainview Road. Then, traffic will be routed west onto Ga. 83 and back to Ga. 63.

Truck traffic will have different signed detour routes to ensure tractor-trailers do not use bridges with posted weight limits, creating a safety hazard.

The DOT had planned to hold the open house on Jan. 30, but winter weather concerns forced postponement.

Area transportation committee to hear about bike/ped plan

A presentation on efforts to update the area’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan is set for 10:30 this morning at the Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville.

Richard Fangmann, director of transportation planning for Pond & Co., plans to speak to the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Technical Coordinating Committee, a group of area engineers and planners.

Earlier this month, officials released a draft list of recommended Hall County bicycle/pedestrian improvements, with costs totaling an estimated $143.4 million.

In what is basically a wish list, the suggested projects stretch way into the future — as far as 2040, but possibly longer, as some of the work is labeled as “aspirations.”

Officials will be weighing the improvements against other transportation work — notably, road projects — as part of a 2040 Metropolitan Planning Plan update, which is slated for completion by August 2015.

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