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Eyes on the Road: Road projects no hindrance to fall travelers
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Fall foliage has the rest of our state motoring through Northeast Georgia, with heavier traffic on Ga. 365 evidence of that.

And for the most part, construction projects aren’t impeding traffic.

There are a few projects sightseers should keep an eye on, however.

Intersection improvements are under way on Ga. 53 at Etowah River Road and Thompson Road in Dawson County, said Teri Pope, spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Hall County-based District 1. Work began Aug. 13, with grading now taking place.

It’s not affecting lanes, “but traffic does slow down in the area because of onlookers,” Pope said

The $2.7 million project is slated for a June 30 completion. Baldwin Paving Co. is the contractor.

In Hall County, widening work is taking place along Ga. 347/Lanier Islands Parkway between Interstate 985 and McEver Road.

“Clearing is finished and crews have started grading and utility relocations,” Pope said.

The $11.6 million project has a November 2014 completion date.

Farther north, work has started on the Cleveland Bypass, connecting U.S. 129 to Ga. 115. This project is particularly significant to fall tourists, as the Cleveland square serves as a bit of a regional hub, with drivers spinning off toward Dahlonega or Helen and places farther north into the mountains.

“Clearing is still under way and grading just has started in areas where
clearing is done,” Pope said. “This (project) doesn’t affect traffic because it is all new roadway.”

As construction continues, traffic will be affected in areas where the bypass crosses existing roads and at U.S. 129 near the Walmart Supercenter.

Generally speaking, the DOT’s construction season starts in March and ends in October.

November through February is “typically too cold for construction work to occur, so anything that happens during these months (is) a bonus,” Pope said. “Contractors are trying to get as much done as possible before colder temperatures become consistent.”

For those wondering whether construction work will bottleneck Lanier Islands Parkway during the annual Magical Nights of Lights, which begins Nov. 16, worry no further.

“The contract prohibits lane closures from Thanksgiving Week through the New Year, so traffic for the (event) is not impeded,” Pope said.

DOT delays traffic shift at Braselton intersection

Last week, because of weather, the DOT delayed a traffic shift and opening of two turning lanes at Ga. 211/Old Winder Highway and Ga. 124 in Braselton.

The traffic shift will be rescheduled for sometime this week.

The project calls for right- and left-turn lanes on each leg of the intersection. Two left-turn lanes will be built on Ga. 124 east toward Interstate 85 and on Ga. 211 south toward Braselton.

Two through lanes and sidewalks will be built for Ga. 211 and Ga. 124. New signal equipment will be installed and allow the traffic signals at the interstate ramps to be timed with the signal at the intersection of those two roads.

The $5.2 million project is set for an April 30 completion.

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

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