Hall County officials are eyeing three to four meetings between November and April with the Martin Road community to discuss alternate corridors for the South Hall road in the wake of a new, nearby Interstate 985 interchange.
Meeting dates haven’t been scheduled yet, said Sam Baker, transportation planning manager for the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization, Hall’s lead transportation planning agency.
The effort would be done as part a regional freight study conducted by Boston-based transportation consultant CDM Smith, he said in an email circulated this week.
“We have just gotten started with the consultant, and none of these (meetings) have been decided yet,” Baker said. “Basically, the Martin Road residents told us that they want to be involved as we explore alternate corridors from (the planned) Exit 14.”
So, the meetings’ purpose “will be to seek the residents’ input, involve them in exploring alternatives and share the results of the consultant’s analysis and recommendations,” he said.
The Georgia Department of Transportation plans to start construction, possibly late summer or early fall next year, on the $27 million interchange, which calls for a diamond interchange connecting Martin Road on the east side of I-985 to H.F. Industrial Parkway on the west side.
The project has ignited huge community opposition, with “Stop Exit 14” signs dotting the area landscape.
Residents are worried about the flood of new traffic on already busy Martin Road, which runs between Falcon Parkway/Ga. 13 and Winder Highway/Ga. 53, after Exit 14 is built.
Public officials who have defended the interchange project join with residents on concerns about the Martin Road impact.
“My recommendation would be we … figure out a way to end Martin Road (at JM Turk Road) and make the exit come out and go down past the (Mulberry Creek) community center and cut up to (Ga. 53) that way,” Flowery Branch Mayor Mike Miller has said.
“That would keep the traffic off Martin Road.”
Martin Road is heavily residential, while JM Turk has large open tracts. The road dead-ends into Cash Road.