Right of way acquisition on the second phase of Spout Springs Road’s widening project is now projected to begin in the fall of 2023 -- or three years later than had been expected.
That means if the right of way process takes the same amount of time as it did on phase one, construction might not start until two years later, or 2025.
Hall County’s website on the project no longer shows a projected construction schedule. At one time, the county projected the work to start in summer or fall of 2022.
The issue is Hall doesn’t have construction money for the second phase, which would run from Union Circle to the Gwinnett County line.
The project “could start earlier if a funding source is identified sooner,” Hall County spokeswoman Katie Crumley said Wednesday, July 15. “Funding possibilities do include a future SPLOST or working with the state to identify other funding options.”
The special purpose local option sales tax approved in November 2019, or SPLOST VIII, called for $73.6 million in road improvements, including $26.8 million for right of way acquisition and other preliminary work in Spout Springs’ second phase.
Work, meanwhile, is well underway on the first phase, or between Hog Mountain Road and Union Circle, with heaving grading taking place and curb and gutter, new side streets and driveways being built.
The first phase is expected to be completed in December 2021.
The second phase of the project has become a waiting game for residents along the road.
Paul and Veronica de Kozan have put off house repairs and lawn work, having known since 2011 that a map shows their Sherwood Mill Drive house being taken as part of the project.
“One thing we’ve been prevented from doing is putting our house on the market,” property Paul de Kozan told The Times in a September 2019 interview. “As responsible citizens, we cannot put our house on the market and not tell somebody what’s down the road.”
In all, the second phase affects 91 parcels. Right of way acquisition on phase one affected 161 parcels.
The project was broken into two phases in 2016 “in an effort to expedite the project’s overall timeline,” Crumley has said. At one point, the county projected right of way acquisition to begin on phase two in summer 2019.
When she learned of the latest delay on Wednesday, Veronica de Kozan said, “Here we go again.”
“We have already spent a lot of money on upkeep and in another three years, we are going to be forced to spend a lot more,” she said. “Besides your home, there are many personal changes that take place over 10 years that require a homeowner to move.
“We were contemplating moving to Florida, but now because of health, we cannot think about making such a move. How would county commissioners, engineers, mayors and others feel if this was happening to their parents?”
Hall County officials suggest that people shouldn’t put off needed repairs just because they’re not sure when right of way negotiations may happen.
“If your roof is leaking, by all means, please get it fixed,” Crumley has said.
“Health and safety is taken into account when they’re performing appraisals,” County Engineer Kevin McIntuff has said.
Homeowners should make sure to hold onto receipts, as they could be used as part of the negotiations, he added.