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Eyes on the Road: Rains have roughed up road shoulders
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A wet 2013 has created a potentially dangerous situation for motorists — soft and sometimes caved-in road shoulders.

“I have seen an increase in the amount of shoulder work required with the excess rainfall,” Hall County Engineer Kevin McInturff said last week.

“What generally happens (is) the edges of the road may be slightly built up with debris or grass making the road shoulder slightly higher than the road edge,” he said. “Then, heavy rains will carry streams of water along the edge of the road rather than dispersing down the slopes.”

This stream of water “creates a small channel right next to the asphalt in the shoulder of the road,” resulting in drop-offs next to the pavement on the side of the road, McInturff said.

It “also leads to the pavement edge breaking off in some cases.”

McInturff said motorists need to report such problem areas to the county’s maintenance department at 770-531-6824.

The problem isn’t so much an issue in urban areas, such as downtown Gainesville.

“Most of the streets within the city have curb and gutter, so we do not have many situations of road shoulder problems from rain,” said Chris Rotalsky, assistant public works director.

Spout Springs Road widening goes into early design phase

The Spout Springs widening project has moved into preliminary design, said Jody Woodall of Hall County’s engineering department.

The current schedule calls for right-of-way acquisition to begin late next year or in 2015.

“Construction is really in long range at this time,” Woodall said at a recent meeting of the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Technical Coordinating Committee.

The project calls for the busy South Hall road to be widened to four lanes from two between Hog Mountain Road in Flowery Branch and Thompson Mill Road in Braselton.

Earlier this year, the Hall County Board of Commissioners approved $151,971 for additional work by consultant STV/Ralph Whitehead Associates on the project, as it also could involve improvements to Spout Springs between Hog Mountain and Interstate 985.

The MPO’s 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan envisions the widening project taking place between 2018 and 2030.

In 2011, when the project was set as part of the 2040 plan, the estimated total cost was $44.8 million. The inflation-adjusted estimate in that 12-year time frame is $58.3 million.

Visitation linked to DOT signs for park

When Don Carter State Park opened in July, it got glowing reviews — among them, the tall pines and beach cove making the park feel like a true getaway.

But for one couple from the Middle Georgia town of Monticello, it seemed like a case of get there if you can find it.

“Maybe down the road ... they could put up more state park signs,” Ralph Lam said.

“They definitely need some more signs,” added his wife, Linda.

Kim Hatcher, spokeswoman for the Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites, said the state is working on documentation before requesting additional signs from the Georgia Department of Transportation.

“DOT requirements for signage require proof of visitation,” she said.

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


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