Work has started on the long-awaited widening of Ga. 347/Lanier Islands Parkway, the first of three projects that ultimately will serve as a major east-west connector in South Hall.
Grading is under way near Atlanta Highway and silt fencing is up for most of the two-mile route.
The $14 million project calls for a four-lane divided highway, including sidewalks, between McEver Road/Peachtree Industrial Boulevard and Interstate 985.
The roadway will split between numerous businesses, including restaurants, gas stations and strip shopping centers. Most of the road’s commercial development is between Atlanta Highway and I-985.
The completion date on the project is Nov. 30, 2014, said Teri Pope, spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation’s District 1, which includes Hall County.
Mack Burgess, new director of the proposed Lanier Islands Parkway Community Improvement District, a self-taxing area allowed under the state constitution, said Sunday that he believed the DOT’s work along the road “will be good for our campaign.”
The CID, which is trying to gain business support for the initiative, hopes to use revenues to pay for extras to the road.
“There’s a huge aesthetic component (to a new road),” he said. “We want to clean up blighted areas along Lanier Islands Parkway. We’d love to dress it up a little bit.”
Mike Williams, CEO at Lake Lanier Islands resort, has said the CID “would do the stuff that the DOT won’t fund — for example, streetlights, signage and landscaping.”
The DOT has awarded a contract for the second leg of the project, an eight-mile widening of Ga. 347 from I-985 — where Lanier Islands Parkway becomes Friendship Road — to Ga. 211/Old Winder Highway.
“We expect work to begin in September,” Pope said last week, noting that could change.
Friendship Road will be widened to six lanes between I-985 and Hog Mountain Road and to four lanes between Hog Mountain Road and Spout Springs Road.
The final link will be a six-lane segment between Spout Springs and Ga. 211 that is all new roadway and will run in front of the Northeast Georgia Health System’s planned new South Hall hospital.
Officials have said construction will take place there first to coincide with development of the 100-bed hospital, which is expected to open in the spring of 2015. The new lanes are set to be completed in October 2013, with the overall road project slated to wrap up in July 2015.
Thompson Mill Road, which now serves as Ga. 347 between Spout Springs and Ga. 211, “will become a local road and will remain open to traffic,” Pope said. However, “Thompson Mill will not be a continuous road from 211 to Spout Springs, as it is now.”
A third project calling for the widening of Ga. 347 from McEver Road to Lake Lanier Islands resort also is in the works.
The new 2.4-mile road would feature three lanes and sidewalks. Right-of-way acquisition is scheduled to begin before June 30 and construction is planned for 2014-15, Pope said.
The road projects combined are the biggest for Hall County since the reconstruction of I-985 at Exit 16 in Oakwood. That $75 million project involved the widening of Mundy Mill Road and construction of a new interchange at Ga. 13/Atlanta Highway, or Exit 17.