By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Keep an eye out as school buses fill Hall County roads
First day of class may snarl traffic
Placeholder Image

With more than 100 yellow buses filling Hall County's roads, it's time again for motorists to be more alert than ever.

Today marks the start of classes in the Gainesville and Hall County schools systems.

And that means buses stopping to pick up students and parents taking their children to school - especially during the first couple of weeks of school.

"(Today) is also a furlough day for our employees, but we've rearranged that ... so that we can have all hands on deck," said Col. Jeff Strickland, spokesman for the Hall County Sheriff's Office.

"In the morning, all of our traffic enforcement units will be working school zones," he said. "We'll (also) be following buses ... that have had trouble in the past with people passing them."

Strickland said passing a school bus that is picking up students and has its stop sign extended is a misdemeanor punishable up to a $1,000 fine. Also, motorists must stop unless they are traveling on a highway that has a raised median.

Meanwhile, bus routes aren't changing in the Gainesville system, transportation director Jerry Castleberry has said.

But many Hall County students are seeing a lot of changes, particularly with the closing this year of Jones Elementary School in the Chicopee Village.

Most of those students now will attend Chicopee Woods Elementary School off Calvary Church Road, while others will go to either McEver or Lyman Hall elementary schools.

The Chicopee Woods students will be on the bus longer because it's a farther distance to drive, "but other than that, we shouldn't see a lot of problems" with routes, said Jewel Armour, Hall County Schools' executive operations director.

Also, students living off Oakwood Road and attending nearby Oakwood Elementary School will ride instead down Mundy Mill Road, likely to Atlanta Highway and then Plainview Road to get to school.

Oakwood Road was closed in late July so construction crews can rebuild the intersection with the emerging Thurmon Tanner Parkway's final leg. The road closing could last up to 90 days.

Oakwood Elementary sits at the end of Main and Academy streets, or just one block off Oakwood Road.

For motorists, the detour route for Oakwood Road traffic east of Thurmon Tanner is Ga. 53/Mundy Mill Road to Mundy Mill Drive to Oakwood Road. For west traffic, the detour route is Mundy Mill Road to Old Oakwood Road and then Main Street to Oakwood Road.

The last segment of Thurmon Tanner is a 1.3-mile stretch between Mundy Mill and Plainview roads.

Also, the county system is contending with the closing of Mangum Mill Road near Sugar Hill Elementary School in East Hall for construction work.

Mangum Mill runs between Blackstock and Harmony Church roads.

"At this point ... it looks like we won't be able to travel that road at all, so we'll have to pick up (students) on either end," Armour has said.

Jody Woodall, Hall County road projects manager, has said the Mangum Mill work - replacing a culvert at a cost of about $170,000 - could take 45 to 60 days to complete.

Some traffic relief could come to one area of the county.

The Spout Springs Road widening in front of Flowery Branch High and Spout Springs Elementary schools has been completed. A center turn lane now spans between Elizabeth Lane and Union Circle with a new traffic light at Elizabeth Lane.

Overall, motorists should be on guard as they travel through school zones.

"We would remind all (drivers) that the warning lights reducing the speed limits will be flashing ... and (they need to) use extreme caution," Strickland said. "We'll also have kids waiting by the street in the morning that people haven't seen in a couple of months."