Routing chicken trucks and 18-wheelers through Hall County is a major element in regional transportation planning.
Now, local government officials are prepared to conduct a freight study to determine how to best navigate the population growth and resulting increase in commercial truck traffic that is anticipated over the next two decades or more.
“This will help free up roads,” Hall Commissioner Jeff Stowe said, “and find the best routes for trucks to take.”
Stowe said he expects the study to take eight to 12 months to complete.
The U.S. Congress passed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or FAST Act, in December.
The law placed greater emphasis on the nation’s congested freight system by creating new programs to improve safety and efficiency of travel, exploit economic benefits and address the impact of population growth on the movement of people and freight.
The federal government has allocated $4.5 billion for freight projects under these programs, which are available nationally on a competitive basis.
The Federal Highway Administration has granted $175,000 for the local freight study. Local governments will contribute the remaining $43,000 needed.
According to Hall County Planning Director Srikanth Yamala, the study will assess the current infrastructure and capacity for commercial trucking in Hall and Jackson counties; identify specific freight projects and/or corridors; address safety and connectivity based on the planned new interchange at Exit 14 along Interstate 985 near Ga. 13/Atlanta Highway; and develop a plan based on latest federal, state and regional policies.
“It is the intent of GHMPO to potentially pursue competitive grants available from USDOT under the FAST Act that are backed by thorough and technical analysis under this study,” Yamala said.