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Why traveling on Dawsonville Highway near McEver Road could get easier
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Gainesville is studying the possibility of a connector road that would provide an alternate route to relieve congestion at Dawsonville Highway and McEver Road. - photo by Scott Rogers

Gainesville officials are making a Dawsonville Highway connector a budget priority for the upcoming year to relieve congestion at the highway’s intersection with McEver Road.

The city of Gainesville and the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization are collaborating to find a way to reroute traffic coming into Hall from the direction of Dawsonville.

“Our Dawsonville Highway corridor is a very active corridor. … With the limitations that we have there in regard to roadways and also in regard to geography and topography, we’re trying to look at how can we move traffic around that area instead of everything having to channel through there,” Chris Rotalsky, Gainesville’s director of public works, said.

The path for the alternate route has not been determined yet, and the project is still in the conceptual phase, Rotalsky said.

Dawsonville Highway’s intersection with McEver Road is home to a variety of retail and restaurant locations, including the McEver Corners and Lakeshore Place shopping centers.

The city and the planning organization are working on a conceptual study, which is expected to be finished later this summer. The results of that study will be shared at an open meeting, Sam Baker, the organization’s transportation planning manager, said.

Baker said the project will be considerate of people who live in nearby residential areas. Lake Lanier is also nearby, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would be consulted about work near the lake.

“Whatever we come up with, we want the citizens to be comfortable with it,” Baker said.

The $200,000 study received $160,000 in federal funding and $40,000 from the city, Baker said.

Baker said Dawsonville Highway serves as a major route for people traveling both into and out of Hall County. About 26,000 to 27,000 vehicles travel on the highway every day, according to 2016 numbers from the state, he said.

“A lot of people travel on Dawsonville Highway to get to work in downtown Gainesville. … People come to that location to do a lot of shopping and to come to the restaurants,” Baker said. “In that regard, it acts as an entryway into Gainesville.”

Baker said many drivers also use Dawsonville Highway to go to Ga. 400 or Forsyth County.

Baker said some of the turn lanes at the Dawsonville Highway and McEver Road intersection have already been widened to two lanes, which has improved traffic flow. However, the intersection still experiences heavy traffic and more changes need to be made, he said.

Baker said the budget for the project will depend on which solution is chosen.

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