OAKWOOD - Traveling to Oakwood's old town might take a little longer starting later this month.
Work on the final leg of the four-lane Thurmon Tanner Parkway has gotten to the point where a chunk of Oakwood Road, a main connector between Mundy Mill Road and Main Street, could close July 27 for three months.
"We are already working with the city, the police force and the school system's transportation office about the detour," said Teri Pope, spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation's Gainesville-based District 1.
"The contract allows 90 days for the work, but we hope it is (completed) much sooner than that," she added.
To reach city offices and the city park on Railroad Street near Main, motorists approaching from Mundy Mill and Interstate 985 would have to travel up Mundy Mill past Gainesville State College and turn left on Old Oakwood Road.
They would then take a left on Main Street at the U.S. post office to reach the city center.
Oakwood Elementary School sits at the end of Main Street, off Academy Street, just a block from Oakwood Road. The 2010-11 school year starts Aug. 9.
City Manager Stan Brown talked to Oakwood City Council last week about the road closing, which will take place on Oakwood Road just past the Georgia Poultry Diagnostic Laboratory.
He also said he hoped the work wouldn't take 90 days.
Crews "are trying to do a lot of the prep work on the grading on either side to where they can minimize the through-traffic closure," Brown said. "It still will be open to local traffic - for people who need to get access to their home and for police response."
Oakwood Road must be lowered several feet for improved sight distance for motorists, Pope said.
"The road will also be widened to accommodate right and left-turn lanes in both directions ... There is also a new drainage system that must be installed for the newly widened Oakwood Road."
The contractor, Gary's Grading and Pipeline Co. of Monroe, is about 35 percent complete on the entire project, which is set for a Dec. 31 completion.
Thurmon Tanner's final 1.3-mile leg runs between Mundy Mill and Plainview roads. The cost is $6.7 million.
"My hope is that since (the contractor) is under the gun to get this complete, they won't leave this (road closed) for 90 days. We feel like they'll make every good-faith effort to get it open as soon as they can," Brown said.
When the final leg is finished, all of Thurmon Tanner is expected to provide a four-lane alternative to Interstate 985, running mostly parallel to the freeway between Atlanta Highway in Oakwood and Phil Niekro Boulevard in Flowery Branch.
Public officials have long envisioned the road as a haven for commercial and industrial activity.
Oakwood has incorporated the final leg of Thurmon Tanner in Oakwood 2030, a vision of what the city's old town might look like in that year, featuring commercial centers, government buildings and other public spaces.