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Eyes on the Road: Traffic shifts on stretch of new Ga. 347
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The Georgia Department of Transportation shifted a half-mile section of Ga. 347 in South Hall County onto a temporary section of roadway Tuesday to allow construction to continue on a culvert protecting Sherwood Creek.

The section runs from Williams Road to Dunbar Drive.

Also, the speed limit on Ga. 347 from Interstate 985 to Spout Springs Road is now 35 mph.

“The speed limit was lowered because of the construction and frequent traffic shifts along this section,” District Engineer Bayne Smith said, reminding motorists that speeding fines are doubled in a work zone.

The 8-mile, $38.4 million project is set for completion by Jan. 12, 2016.

A new four- and six-lane stretch of Ga. 347 between Spout Springs Road and Ga. 211, running in front of the Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton, was finished in June. The hospital, under construction now, is set for completion next spring.

In a separate project, the DOT is widening a stretch of Ga. 347 between Ga. 13/Atlanta Highway and I-985. That project is set for completion by Nov. 30.

And the DOT is planning improvements for Ga. 347 between McEver Road and Lake Lanier Islands.

That 2«-mile project features a two-way left-turn lane, right-turn lanes as needed, multiuse path and sidewalks and a traffic circle near Lanier Islands Community Church at 6302 Lanier Islands Parkway, off New Bethany and Big Creek roads.

Gillsville mayor hopes bids on project go out in September

A downtown “transportation enhancement” project in Gillsville is moving along.

The project calls for new sidewalks and pedestrian lighting along busy Ga. 52, extending west of Wilson Drive and east of Bryant Quarter Road.

“I’m told that all design plans, studies and such have been approved,” said Larry Poole, mayor of the East Hall city on the Banks County line.

“We are now in the process of reviewing, approving and signing all the necessary agreements and will get them back to DOT for their signatures.”

Poole said he is hoping the project — basically converting the small downtown into “somewhat of a plaza” — will go out for bids by September.

“Lots of work (is) involved in making these things happen, but I believe the end result will justify the effort,” he said.

Road planning group set for busy meeting today

The Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization’s technical coordinating committee, a group comprising area planners and engineers, has a full agenda when it meets today at the Hall County Government Center.

A few key items could be a discussion of Spout Springs Road, a busy two-lane South Hall road slated for eventual widening; a proposed update to the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization’s 2012-2017 Transportation Improvement Program, featuring higher costs in a couple of bridge projects; and discussion of future road projects also accommodating pedestrians and bicyclists.

The meeting is set for 10:30 a.m. at the government center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville.

Federal funding issue continues to intensify

On the national front, pressure continues to build on Congress to continue transportation funding.

The current spending bill expires Sept. 30, but officials have said the well could go dry long before that date. State transportation budgets rely heavily on federal dollars to pay for projects, with much of that money coming from a gas tax motorists pay at the pump.

In a July 1 letter to top state transportation officials, Transportation Secretary Anthony R. Foxx said, “I urge you to stand with me in calling on Congress to ensure the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund while committing itself to a sound, bipartisan and long-term solution that will ensure the stability of the surface transportation system of our nation for the next several years.”

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


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