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Eyes on the Road: Roads focus group to meet for last time
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A focus group giving input to Gainesville’s master transportation plan is set to hold its final meeting Thursday.

The meeting, set for 5:30 p.m. at the Fair Street Neighborhood Center, 715 Fair St., is open to the public but is mainly geared toward focus group participation.

The last communitywide meeting, which has an open-house format with maps and opportunities to question consultants and officials, is scheduled for 5:30-7:30 p.m. Aug. 1 at the Gainesville Civic Center, 830 Green St.

Gainesville has released a preliminary list of 41 recommendations as part of efforts to complete a transportation master plan.

Recommendations vary widely across the city, addressing some of the most heavily traveled roads, including Green Street, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Jesse Jewell Parkway and Dawsonville Highway.

Projects include new roads, such as one crossing Lake Lanier between Ga. 53/Dawsonville Highway and Ga. 60/Thompson Bridge Road and one connecting Downey Boulevard to Interstate 985, creating a new interchange.

Also featured are improvements to existing roadways, as well as bicycle and pedestrian paths.
Residents are encouraged to comment on the plan through an online survey by visiting the city’s website,

Final recommendations ultimately will be considered for inclusion in the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization’s short-term Transportation Improvement Program and long-term Metropolitan Transportation Plan.

The MPO is Hall County’s lead transportation planning agency.

Richard Fangmann of Pond & Co., the city’s consultant in the study, presented details of the study last week to the MPO’s Technical Coordinating Committee, which is made up of planners, engineers and various city and county leaders.

The MPO’s Citizens Advisory Committee is set to meet at 4 p.m. Thursday in the Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville.

Georgia DOT awards projects totaling more than $1.2 billion in fiscal 2012-13

Georgia Department of Transportation construction contract awards topped $1.2 billion in fiscal 2012-13, which ended June 30, state officials announced last week.

That amount does not include an additional $109 million in awards and contracts through the DOT’s Local Maintenance Improvement Grant program, officials said.

Each year, the DOT dedicates at least 10 percent of the previous year’s motor fuel collections to local governments’ transportation needs.

“I am very proud of the hard work of our GDOT employees in order to award these contracts over the last year,” said State Transportation Board Chairman Johnny Floyd.

“Keeping contractors busy and people working is a good thing for Georgia.”

In other state news, the DOT has retained Oklahoma-based Claims Management Resources Inc. to act as the state’s agent in damages recovery negotiations with responsible parties and their insurance carriers.

Each year, thousands of vehicle crashes on Georgia highways damage or destroy state property, including signs and guardrails. The DOT repairs and replaces those items but also seeks to recover costs from responsible parties.

For its efforts, CMR also will collect a fee from the responsible party.

“The company is doing this same work for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (and) results in that state have been very positive,” DOT Chief Engineer Russell McMurry said.

CMR’s work will be done at no cost to taxpayers, Georgia DOT officials said.

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