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Meetings set for Thursday on two key South Hall roads
Medians may be discussed
Cars make their way through the intersection of Friendship and Hog Mountain Roads Friday. The Georgia Department of Transportation is holding a public hearing Thursday to discuss the widening of Friendship Road. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Road meetings

Here's a recap of public meetings Thursday concerning two South Hall road widening projects:

Friendship Road
When: 4-7 p.m.
Where: Friendship Elementary School, 4450 Friendship Road
Contacts: 770-535-5759 or

Spout Springs Road
When: 5-7:30 p.m.
Where: Spout Springs School of Enrichment, 6640 Spout Springs Road
Contacts: 770-616-4984 or


For those interested in improvements to Spout Springs and Friendship roads, pencil in Thursday night.

Public meetings are set on the Spout Springs widening project, which is in design and at least a couple of years from construction, and Friendship Road widening, which could begin next summer.

The roads are heavily traveled and run through mainly residential areas, passing by schools and a flurry of subdivisions, with each project raising potentially thorny issues.

Some stretches are narrow along Spout Springs, which is on track for widening between Hog Mountain Road and the Gwinnett County line.

Jody Woodall, Hall County civil engineer, expects questions about potential right of way. But answers won't be aplenty, as the design work has just started on the $46.3 million project.

Thursday's meeting, set for 5-7:30 p.m. at Spout Springs School of Enrichment, is largely intended for people to give officials their thoughts on how the road should better serve motorists and relieve congestion. Officials plan to display an aerial photo of the corridor.

"We are not going in with a preconceived concept," Woodall said.

A possible key topic of discussion will be medians, including whether the four-lane road should feature center left-turn lanes.

Overall, people will be able to see maps and time lines, talk to project engineers and provide comments.

Data is being collected for the project, including traffic counts, and "we're beginning to do some special studies as far as history and ecology for the environmental document (that will be produced)," Woodall said.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is overseeing the Ga. 347/Friendship Road widening from Interstate 985 to Ga. 211/Old Winder Highway.

Engineers will be available 4-7 p.m. Thursday at Friendship Elementary School "to discuss the proposed project, detour routes necessary during construction and potential locations for noise-wall installation," said Teri Pope, spokeswoman for the DOT's Gainesville-based District 1.

"Several side streets that intersect Ga. 347 will have to be closed during construction for grade changes (involving) the new, wider Ga. 347," Pope said.

The road will feature four- and six-lane segments.

"Only one closure will occur at a time," Pope added. "At the meeting, we will (disclose) the road names, approximate length of the road that will be closed, the length of time the roads will be closed and the detour routes that will be used."

The DOT is considering the noise barrier as part of updating an air and noise study based on new federal requirements, DOT engineer Robert Mahoney said at a Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting on Oct. 19.

"There will be some heated discussion about (it), I believe," Mahoney said.

As for the project's status, the DOT has acquired 211 of 254 parcels needed for the 7.9-mile, $47.9 million project, Pope has said.

Officials hope to award the project in April, she said.

A contract could be awarded in February for the widening of Ga. 347/Lanier Islands Parkway from Interstate 985 to McEver Road. The 1.7-mile project is estimated to cost $15.3 million.

The Spout Springs widening is one of nine projects tapped for funding by the 1 percent sales tax for transportation. Voters will decide whether to approve the tax in a referendum set for July 31.

If the tax is approved, the Spout Springs project could take place between 2013 and 2015.

The project also is featured in the 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan, which was approved in August by the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization's Policy Committee.

The plan figures in federal, state and local funding for a long list of road projects, but it doesn't consider the proposed new sales tax. Under that scenario, the Spout Springs widening could take place between 2018 and 2030.


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