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Lights Ferry Connector now open in Flowery Branch
A roundabout is featured in downtown Flowery Branch as part of the Lights Ferry Connector.

For years, downtown Flowery Branch may have been quaint, but it wasn’t necessarily motorist-friendly.

The city’s traffic situation improved Monday with the opening of the Lights Ferry Connector, featuring a roundabout at Mitchell Street with the city’s name in brushed aluminum on a center retaining wall.

But the road is not just about fancying up an older part of town.

The connector serves a real purpose — giving drivers a long-awaited straight shot between Atlanta Highway/Ga. 13 and McEver Road, two major South Hall traffic arteries.

Previously, drivers had to dog-leg their way through downtown streets to make the connection.

The new road also feeds into Phil Niekro Boulevard, which leads to another major thoroughfare, Interstate 985. And Phil Niekro becomes the busy Spout Springs Road as it passes under I-985.

The $2.1 million road, which had been set for a Friday opening, was formed using Lights Ferry Road and Snelling Avenue.

It is being funded through the city’s capital improvement fund, but a bulk of it, nearly $1.6 million, comes from a loan and grant provided by the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank, which is managed by the State Road and Tollway Authority.

The project also involved installation of streetlights and landscaping, as well as pavers and vegetation inside the roundabout.

“I think that it looks great,” city planning director John McHenry said Tuesday. “At the same time, (the new road) is not just about mobility. It’s also opening up part of our downtown area and highlighting what’s going on in terms of Main Street.”

Main Street has resurged in recent years, with businesses occupying once-vacant buildings and becoming a regional draw.

McHenry also noted that Harbour Lights, a new residential development off Lights Ferry, is starting to grow.

“There are already two homes sold and 10 under construction, and it really meshes with what’s in our redevelopment plan,” he said.