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Eyes on the Road: Work could start next spring on U.S. 129 widening
Bids could go out later this year
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If funding is in place, the U.S. 129/Athens Highway widening project in East Hall could go out for bids later this year, with work starting next spring.

The Georgia Department of Transportation hopes to award the project to a contractor in December, district spokeswoman Teri Pope said.

But the agency “needs federal gas tax funds to build this project,” she said.

The federal Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2015, signed by President Barack Obama on May 29, provides funding only through July.

The short-term funding law has created uncertainty within DOT.

“We are preparing for July (contract) lettings and tentatively for August,” DOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale said last week.

At nearly $40 million, the U.S. 129 widening project would likely be Hall County’s next big road project. All but five of the 205 parcels of land needed to widen the road have been bought, Pope said.

The work calls for widening U.S. 129 from Ga. 323/Gillsville Highway to the Pendergrass Bypass, a 6.7-mile stretch. U.S. 129, which eventually connects to Interstate 85, is considered a crucial link between Gainesville and Athens.

As is customary with road projects, 80 percent of the construction costs will be footed by federal money and 20 percent by state gas tax money.

The biggest ongoing road project in Hall involves widening Ga. 347/Friendship Road from Interstate 985 to Ga. 211/Old Winder Highway in South Hall.

Work between Ga. 211 and Spout Springs Road is done, so most of the construction is taking place between Spout Springs and I-985.

The $38.4 million project is set for completion by Jan. 12.

South Hall transportation update set for July 21

An update on South Hall transportation work is set for July 21 during a meeting of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s South Hall Business Coalition.

The event, taking place 8-9 a.m., will be held at the Hall County Library System’s Spout Springs branch, 6488 Spout Springs Road, Flowery Branch.

Sam Baker and Srikanth Yamala of the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Hall area’s lead transportation planning agency, will present the program.

The cost to attend is $5 for chamber members and $15 for nonmembers and includes a light breakfast.

Reservations can be made by calling Megan Martin at 770-532-6206, ext. 115, or emailing her at mmartin@ghcc.com.

Coalition meetings are sponsored by Milton Martin Honda and Red Clay Interactive.

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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