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Eyes on the Road: Safe Routes to Schools project construction ongoing in Gainesville
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Construction is well underway on a Safe Routes to Schools project improving pedestrian and bicycling access to several Gainesville city schools.

Sidewalks are being built on Ga. 11/Park Hill Drive between Roper Hill Road and South Enota Drive, which leads to Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy at 1340 Enota Ave.

The $564,432 project also calls for similar work intended to benefit Centennial Arts Academy, New Holland Core Knowledge Academy, Fair Street School and Gainesville Middle School.

Construction is about 30 percent complete and the completion date is Dec. 31, said Teri Pope, district spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Safe Routes To School is part of a national movement to improve the health and well-being of children, including those with disabilities, in kindergarten through eighth grade, “by making it safe, convenient and fun to walk or bike to school every day,” the DOT website states.

DOT to ease off projects during holiday weekend

The DOT plans to scale back construction projects across Northeast Georgia over the Memorial Day holiday.

The department will suspend construction-related lane closures on all interstate and major state system highways, a move expected to ease traffic congestion, officials said.

The suspension is set to begin at noon Friday and last until 5 a.m. Tuesday.

Some work may continue on lesser-traveled state and local roads and incident or emergency maintenance-related lane closures could become necessary on any route, officials said.

Bids due today on fixes to Hart County sinkhole

The DOT is accepting bids through today from contractors for repairs to a sinkhole on Ga. 51 at Lake Hartwell in Hart County.

“This repair is beyond the scope of Georgia DOT’s downsized in-house maintenance forces,” stated a news release from the agency.

“Motorists’ safety is our primary goal, so the roadway will remain closed to traffic until it is completely repaired,” District Engineer Bayne Smith has said. “We are working carefully to develop a strong repair plan that prevents this problem from recurring at this location.”

Officials said they believe the sinkhole was caused by a problem with a pipe that runs about 40 feet under Ga. 51. The pipe, which is 10 feet in diameter and 150 feet long, needs to be removed and replaced by a new, custom-made pipe.

Crews then can begin to build up the dirt on top of the pipe to the grade of Ga. 51. Then, they can pave and stripe the roadway.

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