Spout Springs Road in South Hall may be years from a full-blown widening, but some minor traffic-relieving projects should happen this year, possibly starting as early as this month.
The Hall County Board of Commissioners voted Thursday afternoon to spend $1.64 million to hire a contractor for the work.
Efforts include a new traffic light at Elizabeth Lane, a center turn lane between Elizabeth Lane and Union Circle, adding an additional through lane on Spout Springs for northbound motorists at Hog Mountain Road, and adding left-turn lanes at Ivy Springs Drive and Capitola Farm Road.
Jody Woodall, Hall County road projects manager, said he expects work on the traffic light and center turn lane to begin soon after school lets out May 21.
The center turn lane will run in front of Flowery Branch High and Spout Springs Elementary schools.
That project is scheduled to end July 31, depending on weather and other factors.
“We’re still acquiring some right of way,” Woodall said.
The contractor has until Oct. 31 to complete the rest of the project.
Initially, county officials “were estimating we could do two, maybe three, of the (fixes),” Woodall said.
But bid prices came in lower than expected, allowing for all the work to be done.
“We have seen our bid prices over the last one to 1½ years lower than what we were estimating,” Woodall said. “I think that is due, in part, to the economy.”
The county’s special purpose local option sales tax will pay for the work.
The work is regarded as short-term fixes, as county officials hope to eventually widen Spout Springs Road to four lanes — work that could be years away.
For the meantime, county officials were looking at particular trouble spots on the road connecting Flowery Branch and Braselton, with busy commercial areas at both ends.
The schools, sitting diagonally from each other, generate a lot of traffic through the academic year.
And then the county looked at traffic pouring out from busy side roads.
“Our traffic engineering office ... basically looked at the number of houses in the subdivisions,” Woodall said. “Capitola is another entrance going into (the 1,000-acre) Sterling on the Lake ... and Ivy Springs is a fairly large subdivision.”