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Hall could seek bids for Tumbling Creek bridge in January
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Signage blocks passage onto railroad tracks on Tumbling Circle in Gainesville on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. - photo by David Barnes

A new bridge could soon lead to a more direct connection between Atlanta Highway and Mundy Mill Road in South Hall.

Hall County plans to put the new bridge connecting Tumbling Creek Road and Millside Parkway out for bids in January, provided the Georgia Department of Transportation signs off on the county’s plans in December.

The two roads were once connected by a rail crossing on the Norfolk Southern line, but the area was closed in 2013 following seven vehicle crashes at the crossing from 2003 to 2013. One of the crashes involved an Amtrak train, according to Hall County’s grant application to GDOT, which is providing some funding for the project.

Train traffic hasn’t let up since then. About 24 trains pass over the crossing each day, including two daily Amtrak trains, and the freight rail traffic includes hazardous materials — meaning restoring a road-level crossing at the tracks is out of the question.

The rail crossing was the only local connection between Mundy Mill Road/Ga. 53 and Atlanta Highway/Ga. 13, according to the county. A new bridge in the area would require extending Tumbling Creek Road about 900 feet to cross over the rail line and connect with Millside Parkway.

The bridge would have two lanes and potentially a 10-foot path for bicycle and pedestrian traffic on the bridge’s west side, according to the county.

Restoring the connection would not only better connect residential traffic in the area, but give emergency responders easier access to the new Mundy Mill Academy and new subdivisions in the area.

Hall County is aiming to put the contract to build the bridge out earlier than scheduled, according to GDOT spokeswoman Katie Strickland, which requires a vote of the state transportation board. The state also provided a portion of the funding for the project, but the majority is coming from Hall County and the cities of Gainesville and Oakwood.

That vote is scheduled for Dec. 12. If approved, the Tumbling Creek bridge would be added to the state’s bids going out in January.

The project will cost an estimated $4.8 million and be finished by 2022, according to the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization.