Friendship Road’s name might not totally go away after all.
Legislators are considering a bill that calls for dedicating Ga. 347 between Interstate 985 and Braselton town limits as Historic Friendship Road, Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, said Friday.
The dedication is part of a “consent bill that combines all road renaming resolutions and road dedications into one piece of legislation that is voted on as a whole,” he said.
Final votes could be taken in the Senate and House next week as the General Assembly draws to a close.
The bill calls for rededicating the entire strip of Ga. 347, running between Lake Lanier and Ga. 211, as Lanier Islands Parkway, but within that stretch will be signs designating Historic Friendship Road, Miller said.
It also would dedicate Ga. 211 between Ga. 53/Winder Highway and the northbound lanes of Interstate 85 as Chateau Elan Parkway, he added.
“A deal has been struck at the strong encouragement of (Gov. Nathan Deal) to accommodate” those living on Friendship Road, as well as those pushing the Lanier Islands Parkway name, and Chateau Elan resort, which sits off I-85 and Ga. 211 in Braselton, Miller said.
“Nobody got everything, but everybody got something,” he said. “That was good for the community and economic development in the area.”
Deal’s spokesman, Brian Robinson, declined comment on the bill, citing that it’s still pending in the legislature. He said, however, that Deal “has been closely involved with this (issue).”
Chris Puckett, a Friendship Road resident who opposed the name change, along with wife, Pam, also declined comment until the bill was decided.
Miller said the roads’ names, as far as mailing and 911 addresses go, is another issue.
“That is not the state’s purview,” he said. “That would be up to the county.”
Per votes taken by the Hall County Board of Commissioners over the past few years, all of Ga. 347 eventually will be named Lanier Islands Parkway.
At one time, Ga. 347 was Friendship Road, Holiday Road and Thompson Mill Road between Lake Lanier Islands and Ga. 211.
Then, in January 2010, the Hall County Board of Commissioners changed the name of Ga. 347 between Lake Lanier Islands and I-985 to Lanier Islands Parkway.
When the county proposed renaming the rest of Ga. 347 in 2013, residents protested en masse. One resident who led the opposition told the commission that 1,357 residents had signed petitions against the name change.
At a public hearing on the issue, several residents spoke against the move for a range of reasons, including that the new name takes away from the heritage of the Friendship community, which dates to the mid-1800s.
The commission ended up casting two votes, one to name what will be a new alignment of Ga. 347 between Spout Springs Road and Ga. 211 as Lanier Islands Parkway. That stretch is expected to open in a couple of months.
The other vote called for renaming the rest of Ga. 347, or between I-985 and Spout Springs, by the time construction ended on that road. That segment is set for completion Jan. 10, 2016.
Ga. 347/Lanier Islands Parkway between McEver Road and I-985 also is under construction, with work there set to finish Nov. 30.