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Federal planning money sought for North Hall Parkway
Matching money for study would have to come from Hall County
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A North Hall Parkway could connect Thompson Bridge Road, shown here on April 13, 2018, to Ga. 365. A citizens group wants the idea studied sooner rather than later. - photo by David Barnes

A study of a potential North Hall Parkway could take place in fiscal 2019, which starts July 1, but part of the bill would have to be paid by Hall County.

The Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization’s decision-making Policy Committee voted Tuesday, May 8, to pursue federal planning money for the study through the Georgia Department of Transportation.

But the support stopped there.

“This is a county project,” Gainesville Mayor Danny Dunagan said. “We’ve got so many projects on our list … that I’m telling you, you’re not going to see (financial help) from the city of Gainesville.”

Flowery Branch, Oakwood and even Jackson County — all members of the MPO — joined Gainesville in that sentiment.

“You can proceed without (their) support,” said Oakwood Mayor Lamar Scroggs, the committee’s chairman.

Contacted later, Richard Higgins, chairman of the Hall County Board of Commissioners, said he could see their point.

“It is a county project,” he said. “We’ll talk about it and look at it, but I can’t say we would (help fund the study) or not.”

Higgins said that, like Gainesville, the county has a litany of projects to address and only so much money. One of its major road projects is widening Spout Springs Road — which has been divided into two phases.

Funding the matching amount of the study would have to be decided in a commission vote.

The study could cost $200,000, with $40,000 from local sources and $160,000 in Federal Highway Administration dollars that trickle through the DOT to MPOs statewide.

The study is an issue because the Citizens Advisory Committee, a panel within the MPO, has asked that the study be done in fiscal 2019 instead of fiscal 2022. The parkway is an idea that has been floated for years but was revived last year by the group.

The proposed study area would run from Thompson Bridge Road at Mount Vernon Road to Ga. 365 around White Sulphur Road and as far north as Brookton Lula Road and the Clermont area.

Talk of an east-west road in North Hall has been long considered, including the Northern Connector, which was rolled out as a concept 8 ½ years ago — and quickly shot down.

At the time, planners considered two primary routes for that road, with both having their western side starting on Thompson Bridge Road near Mount Vernon Road. One route featured the road ending on Ga. 365 at White Sulphur Road and the other on Ga. 365 at Whitehall Road.

Area officials are looking to build the Sardis Road Connector, a four-lane road that would run between Sardis Road at Dawsonville Highway/Ga. 53 and Thompson Bridge Road near Mount Vernon Road.

Regional events