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Eyes on the Road: US 129 traffic to shift
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Beginning Sept. 3, traffic on U.S. 129/Ga. 11 in Cleveland will be shifted west from O’Reilly Auto Parts to the Dollar General, opening a continuous turn lane from the O’Reilly store to Hope Drive.

Also, as part of the Cleveland Bypass project, Ga. 11 will not have a center turn lane north of Hope, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation.

“This shift will allow crews to have more room as the grade of Ga. 11 is raised,” states a news release.

Another change motorists should be aware of is Donald Thurmond Parkway at Ga. 11 will be closed starting Sept. 3 as the road grade is raised by 12 feet. The contractor is required to complete the work, and reopen the road by Sept. 23.

“With such a significant grade change, traffic cannot continue to use the roadway as the work occurs,” said Harold Mull, district construction engineer.

The detour calls for cars to travel up Ga. 11 to Old Highway 75, then south to Donald Thurmond Parkway, allowing access to Wal-Mart.

The $16.8 million bypass calls for construction of a four-lane divided highway around the western side of Cleveland, from U.S. 129/Ga. 11 to Ga. 115, or nearly 2 miles.

The project, which was hampered by record rainfalls in 2013, is no longer slated to finish by Dec. 31.

Teri Pope, DOT district spokeswoman, has said the DOT is negotiating a new completion date now with the contractor, Tucker-based Sunbelt Structures.

The two parties are working to develop a “good work plan with timeline.” She said she hopefully will have more information by late September.

State Transportation Board elects Blue Ridge business owner Dunn as vice chairwoman

Emily Dunn, the 9th District representative on the State Transportation Board, has been elected as the board’s vice chairwoman.

Dunn lives in Blue Ridge, where she is a business owner and member of the Fannin County Board of Education, Fannin Regional Hospital Board of Trustees and North Georgia Technical College Board.

She was unanimously re-elected in February 2013 to a five-year term by state senators and representatives from the 9th District, which covers Northeast Georgia.

In an election held Thursday among board members, Don Grantham of Augusta was elected board chairman.

The State Transportation Board is the policymaking and governing authority of the Georgia Department of Transportation. It comprises 14 members, representing each of Georgia’s congressional districts.


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