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Ga. 347 improvements are funded once again
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In an emergency meeting Friday, the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization funded Ga. 347 improvements, a reversal from its vote earlier this week.

During a conference call, five members of the organization all voted in favor of the improvements for Lanier Islands Parkway between McEver Road and Lake Lanier Islands, which includes widening the road to add a center turn lane along a 2-mile stretch.

Gainesville Mayor Danny Dunagan had raised the concern of losing $4 million of federal funding and sponsored the motion to rescind Tuesday’s vote that excluded Ga. 347 from the 2012-2017 Transportation Improvement Program, shifting its focus to more pressing traffic issues. Jackson County Board of Commissioners Chairman Tom Crow seconded the motion.

Those present for the call Friday were Dun-agan, Flowery Branch Mayor Mike Miller, Crow, Oakwood Mayor Lamar Scroggs and Georgia Department of Transportation assistant planning administrator Matthew Fowler.

The right-of-way acquisition for Ga. 347 was budgeted at $5 million, with the majority coming from federal funds. Projects such as replacing the Dawsonville Highway bridge over the Chestatee River reached an expected cost of $12.9 million, more than $2 million higher than its previous estimate.

Another $5.4 million, including $4.3 million in federal funding, already is in the 2012-17 plan for the Ga. 347 project’s construction.

The 2«-mile project features a two-way left-turn lane, right-turn lanes as needed, a multiuse path and sidewalks and a traffic circle near Lanier Islands Community Church at 6302 Lanier Islands Parkway, off New Bethany and Big Creek roads.

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