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Hall's next big road project to go out to bid in Feb.
Contracts to be awarded for Lanier Islands Parkway, Friendship Road widening
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Public roads meeting

What: Friendship Road widening project
When: 4-7 p.m. Nov. 3
Where: Friendship Elementary School, 4450 Friendship Road, Buford

A construction contract could be awarded in February for Hall County's next major road project, the widening of Ga. 347/Lanier Islands Parkway from Interstate 985 to McEver Road.

And the Georgia Department of Transportation is looking to award a contract on the second phase of Ga. 347 work, widening Friendship Road to Ga. 211/Old Winder Highway, in about April.

Robert Mahoney, engineer with the DOT, said Wednesday that the department has nearly all the right of way for the Lanier Islands Parkway stretch, which will be widened to four lanes.

But the DOT still has "a good bit" of property to buy for the Friendship Road segment.

"A lot of it has to do with settling the various parcels that have been foreclosed on and things like that, dealing with different banks and government agencies," Mahoney said at the quarterly meeting of the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization's Technical Coordinating Committee.

The DOT has a public meeting scheduled for 4-7 p.m. Nov. 3 at Friendship Elementary School, focusing particularly on detours that will be required as part of the Friendship Road project.

"There will be some significant grade changes made on the side roads and ... we will have to close sections of county roads, as far as the entrances," Mahoney said.

"We will provide a detour route and we will hope to limit each of the (closings) to 30 days maximum."

Friendship Road is mostly two lanes and will be expanded to four- and six-lane segments, running by Friendship Elementary and a string of subdivisions. Its planned crossing at Spout Springs Road is heavily commercial.

The new four-lane will continue to run by more heavily residential areas, including the Village at Deaton Creek, before crossing in front of the Northeast Georgia Medical Center's planned South Hall hospital.

Ga. 211 leads to Chateau Elan, a resort featuring a winery, hotel and golf course, which also sits off I-85.

The estimated construction cost for the Friendship portion of the project is $47.9 million, and the Lanier Islands Parkway work is expected to cost $16.3 million, according to the MPO's 2012-2017 Transportation Improvement Program.

In updating an air and noise study based on new federal requirements, the DOT is looking at noise barrier walls along the corridor, Mahoney said.

"We're going to be discussing at this (Nov. 3) meeting, also," he added. "There will be some heated discussion about the sound walls, I believe."

The walls, built of varying materials and at different heights, typically separate private property from lanes of traffic.

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