Just as the new school year cranks up in August, workers will be pushing to complete the 8-mile Ga. 347/Friendship Road widening in South Hall.
And that could pose some challenges for school-related traffic.
The entrance to Friendship Elementary School “will not be an issue for school buses,” said Jewel Armour, executive director of operations for Hall County Schools.
“However, Friendship Road in general will likely cause buses to be delayed some, mainly in the afternoons. It is likely that road crews will not be working when we run the morning bus routes, but they likely will in the afternoons.”
Armour added: “It will be important for car traffic to be very cautious and alert for school buses and children.”
Teri Pope, Georgia Department of Transportation district spokeswoman, added that caution.
“By definition, a work zone is distracting and dangerous,” she said.
Ga. 347 has plenty of those. Construction crews are busy all along the highly traveled artery, with heavy equipment filling and orange construction barrels lining work sites.
But work will have no impact on the school, which sits just west of North Bogan Road, Pope said.
A new driveway linking Ga. 347 to the school should be finished by July 31, weather-permitting, she said.
“We’ve been planning work to occur over summer so (it) wouldn’t impact the school,” Pope said. “(We’ve been) working with school staff and county (administrators) to keep them informed this summer.”
The $38.4 million project calls for widening Ga. 347 from two lanes to four and six lanes between Interstate 985 and Ga. 211/Old Winder Highway in Braselton.
A section between Ga. 211 and Spout Springs Road was completed to line up with the April 1 opening of the 100-bed Northeast Georgia Medical Center-Braselton.
The project’s overall completion date is Jan. 12.
Pope said workers reopened North Bogan at Ga. 347 on Wednesday, five days earlier than planned. It had been closed so workers could reset the road grade.
Workers have since closed Jones Drive at Ga. 347 — just west of North Bogan — for grade work. It is expected to reopen within three weeks.
Otherwise, work along Ga. 347 consists largely of paving and grading, as well as a focus on the storm drainage system and culverts, Pope said.
The widening is part of a three-phase Ga. 347 improvement project.
Last fall, the DOT finished widening Ga. 347/Lanier Islands Parkway between I-985 and McEver Road. The agency next plans to widen Ga. 347 between McEver Road and Lanier Islands resort, adding a center turn lane, sidewalks and multi-use trails.