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Jan. 18 meeting set to discuss Martin Road alternatives
This map shows the alternative option to the planned eventual widening of Martin Road in South Hall proposed at a Nov. 2 meeting.

Martin Road citizens committee

What: Discussion of proposed alternatives to Martin Road widening in South Hall

When: 5-7 p.m. Jan. 18

Where: Mulberry Creek Community Center, 4491 JM Turk Road

Options for widening Martin Road in South Hall and steering traffic away from area neighborhoods will be presented in a public meeting set for Jan. 18.

“We plan to show the traffic impact of each alternative,” said Sam Baker of the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization, Hall County’s lead transportation planning agency. “We intend to present only those alternatives that we think are feasible.”

The findings will be presented at the second meeting of a 15-member citizens committee that’s been charged with giving input as part of a regional freight study set to be completed in December 2017.

Part of the study is looking at Martin Road and exploring transportation alternatives “to improve connectivity” between the planned Exit 14 on Interstate 985 and Winder Highway/Ga. 53 — or the length of Martin Road.

The $27 million diamond interchange, which could go to construction in late summer or early fall next year, would connect Martin Road on the east side of I-985 to H.F. Reed Industrial Parkway on the west side.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is currently buying right of way for the interchange, which is heavily opposed by area residents, with “Stop Exit 14” signs planted in yards along Martin Road.

Residents also are vehemently opposed to future plans to widen Martin Road. The citizens group was formed as the freight study got underway, with the first meeting held on Nov. 2.

At that meeting, residents suggested realigning Falcon Parkway/Ga. 13 between Hog Mountain Road and Pauline Drive.

The project would, in effect, move the state route closer to the planned Exit 14 off Interstate 985 and traffic coming from I-985, particularly trucks, away from Martin Road and other residential areas.

Hall County Planning Director Srikanth Yamala said at the meeting, “This (alternative) might be great or it might not be great, I don’t know.”

He added that the option — and others as they come up — would have to be studied.

“While developing the alternatives, we have been in discussion with the area residents, (DOT), Hall County and the city of Flowery Branch,” Baker said.

After the more likely options are presented, officials “will then explore future funding options,” Baker said.

The Martin Road community “continues to work with the (MPO) and is pleased with the progress we have made,” resident Darlene Long said. “However, we will not relax until Martin Road is off the 2040 (transportation) plan.

“Exit 14 will bring freight traffic to a residential area. We continue to search for an alternate route that does not connect Martin Road and Exit 14.”

Long added that the community now includes Royal Lakes Country Club off Sloan Mill Road. Martin Road becomes Sloan Mill Road as it crosses Winder Highway, with Sloan Mill Road dead-ending at Poplar Springs Road, which is also Ga. 332.

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