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Eyes on the Road: Spout Springs public hearing is set Thursday
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Residents can check out the latest road plans, including a draft environmental report, Thursday on the 6-mile widening of Spout Springs Road in South Hall.

A public hearing/open house is set for 4-7 p.m. at Prince of Peace Catholic Church, 6439 Spout Springs Road, Flowery Branch.

Hall County and Georgia Department of Transportation officials will be available to talk with residents about the project and hear their feedback.

The $104 million project calls for widening Spout Springs from two to four lanes between Thompson Mill Road in Braselton and Hog Mountain Road in Flowery Branch, as well as building a median and bicycle/pedestrian paths.

Other traffic improvements are planned on Spout Springs between Hog Mountain Road and the Interstate 985 southbound ramps.

The hearing is a required step in Hall County getting final environmental OK from the Federal Highway Administration.

Residents can expect to see maps showing the “best buildable route, meshing community input from the first (public) meeting with federal environmental law and engineering standards,” said Teri Pope, DOT district spokeswoman.

The first public open house on the project took place in December 2012 at the church.

The Thursday meeting “will present the footprint that should closely represent what will be constructed,” said Jody Woodall, the county’s road projects manager

After environmental approval, officials will begin plans for right of way acquisition, he said.

Once those plans are approved, officials can “complete appraisals for the property and begin contacting homeowners,” Woodall said, adding however that “actual offers may still be a little ways off.”

The county’s proposed extension of the special purpose local option sales tax, which goes before voters March 17, includes $20 million for right of way purchases for Spout Springs.

The road not only is crowded with cars, especially at rush hour, but is packed on either side with schools, churches, homes and businesses.

Survey: More willing to pay more for transportation

A survey conducted by a Washington, D.C. firm shows that 57 percent of Georgians polled would be willing to pay more in gas taxes for improvements to the current transportation system.

The survey by Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research also shows that nearly half believe the state is dedicating too little funding to roads and bridges and that they support creating additional funding for transportation needs.

The survey of 603 likely voters was conducted Feb. 8-10 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

“This survey tells us that Georgians clearly understand the strong connection between a viable transportation system and a robust economy,” said Michael Sullivan, chairman of the Georgia Transportation Alliance and president and CEO of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Georgia.

The alliance was founded in 2011 as an affiliate of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

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

jgill@gainesvilletimes.com

facebook.com/jeffagill

@JeffGTimes

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