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Final vote set on McEver Road improvements
Flowery Branch expected to approve agreement with Hall
Improvements to McEver Road at its crossing with Jim Crow Road in South Hall County may begin over the next year. An agreement was approved Thursday night by the Hall County Board of Commissioners and goes before the Flowery Branch City Council on Nov. 5.

Final vote?

What: Flowery Branch City Council is set to decide on agreement with Hall that kick-starts improvements on McEver Road at Gainesville Street/Jim Crow Road and along Gainesville Street.

When: 6 p.m. Thursday

Where: City Hall, 5517 Main St.

The final hurdle to long-awaited improvements to McEver Road in South Hall County might be cleared when the Flowery Branch City Council meets Thursday night.

“The (work) should have been done a long time ago,” Mayor Mike Miller said Tuesday. “However, we’re excited we’re at the finish line. Our vote should set in motion the actual start of the project.”

The council is set to consider an agreement with Hall County to improve the traffic artery’s crossing at Jim Crow Road/Gainesville Street, along with work on Gainesville Street. The Hall County Board of Commissioners gave its OK last month.

Ken Rearden, Hall County’s public works and utilities director, has said that, with the city’s OK, the road work should take a year to complete.

The project consists of adding right- and left-turn lanes at the busy intersection, which is dotted by businesses and is near neighborhoods, Alberta Banks Park and Flowery Branch Elementary School.

Also planned is a resurfacing of Gainesville Street, a long-established road that leads to downtown Flowery Branch. McEver also will be rebuilt — through a road reclamation process that uses recycled materials — between Buford and Oakwood’s southern city limits.

All totaled, the work will cost nearly $4 million, with funding coming from state sources and the special purpose local option sales tax.

Flowery Branch’s portion of that is $658,937, with money coming from the city’s capital improvements fund, this year’s budget and Georgia Department of Transportation local maintenance and improvement grants, City Manager Bill Andrew said.

“We’re pleased to be working with the county on these projects and we hope to partner with them in the future,” he said.

Andrew has said he’s thankful the project is finally moving forward.

“We’ve needed to pave (Gainesville Street) for quite some time, and traffic at that intersection has been increasing,” he said. “It’s definitely needed.”

Talks about improving the intersection can be traced to December 2004, when SPLOST money was designated to cover engineering and right of way costs for signalized turn lanes up and down McEver Road.

The project later expanded to include fixes to McEver, which serves as a major north-south corridor, basically connecting Gainesville to Buford and passing by a slew of business, industries, schools and homes.

Over the past few years, road conditions have steadily gotten worse, particularly with pavement cracking.

Officials are concerned about the extent of repairs that can be done during the winter — not an ideal time to lay asphalt.

“We’ll do our best to move this thing along,” Rearden has said. “I know Flowery Branch is anxious to get Gainesville Street done first, so we’ll probably (do that) first.”

Hall hopes to rebuild McEver Road farther north, from around Radford Road in Flowery Branch to Flat Creek Road in Oakwood next summer.

“We want to get (an agreement done) with Oakwood early before we get this thing out to bid,” Rearden said.