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Eyes on the Road: Utilities work set to start in widening of Ga. 347
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Work could begin in early October on a utilities relocation project related to the widening of Ga. 347/Friendship Road in South Hall County.

The work includes the relocation and extension of water lines — some 10 miles’ worth of ductile iron pipe ranging from 8 to 16 inches, said Matt Tarver of Gainesville Public Utilities.

The city approved a $5.7 million contract to Layne Heavy Civil for the work, which also involves Thompson Mill Road.

The project is taking place in response to the Georgia Department of Transportation’s plans to widen Ga. 347 from Interstate 985 to Ga. 211/Old Winder Highway. The road project, which is expected to start soon, calls for Friendship Road to be widened to six lanes between I-985 and Hog Mountain Road and to four lanes between Hog Mountain and Spout Springs roads.

Also, the work calls for a six-lane segment between Spout Springs and Ga. 211 that is all new roadway and will run in front of the Northeast Georgia Health System’s planned new South Hall hospital.
Thompson Mill Road, which now serves as Ga. 347 between Spout Springs and Ga. 211, “will become a local road and will remain open to traffic,” said Teri Pope, spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation’s District 1, which includes Hall County.

City intersection study awaiting final wreck data

Gainesville officials are waiting for final accident data on the intersection of Ga. 13/Atlanta Highway at
Ga. 369/Jesse Jewell Parkway/Browns Bridge Road before wrapping up a traffic signal study.

In March, the DOT shut down a traffic signal at the intersection, the result of a 2011 traffic study that revealed “there were not sufficient vehicles utilizing this intersection to meet the minimum federal requirements,” according to a DOT press release at the time.

For the past six months, the intersection’s operation and safety record was evaluated.

The evaluation ended Sept. 13, said Dee Taylor, Gainesville traffic engineer.

“At this point, I am waiting on law enforcement to file any last-minute accident data, (and) that may take a while,” Taylor said. “When they do, I will complete my final report for review and approval by DOT.”

The DOT has said that if, after the six months, “the data is found to be acceptable without the control of a traffic signal, the existing traffic signal equipment will be permanently removed.”

“This entire process may take up to eight weeks,” Taylor said. “So, hopefully, by mid-November, we can remove the signal.”

Workers have projects on Interstate 85, area roads

Area motorists have a couple of key spots to watch for this week.

The DOT is replacing concrete sections on Interstate 85 southbound at Ga. 63 in Banks County, forcing the closure of the right or outside lane from 8:30 a.m. to -4 p.m. weekdays.

And crews will be cleaning out ditches on Ga. 52 and installing a new drainage pipe on Ga. 13 in Hall. Workers will be closing lanes as they restripe faded pavement markings on Ga. 60 in Gainesville.

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