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New lanes, ramp open on I-985
DOT shifts traffic at Friendship Road, too
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South Hall motorists can expect a couple of big traffic changes this week.

The Georgia Department of Transportation plans to open Interstate 985 northbound lanes over Ga. 53/Mundy Mill Road and the new northbound exit ramp to Ga. 13/Atlanta Highway on Tuesday.

I-985 north was shifted over to southbound lanes on Oct. 16 so crews could rebuild the bridge.

Southbound traffic will not be shifted back yet, said Teri Pope, a DOT spokeswoman.

"There's more work to do. We've got to do some striping," she said last week.

DOT officials expect the $75 million interstate project, which also involves widening Mundy Mill Road and Atlanta Highway, to be finished by Labor Day.

All lanes on Mundy Mill and Atlanta Highway are expected to be open before Hall County schools start the new academic year on Aug. 10.

In another project, Friendship Road motorists used to traveling behind a Kroger-anchored shopping center to reach Spout Springs and Thompson Mill roads in Braselton are expected to be shifted today to a four-lane stretch that long connected the shopping center to Spout Springs.

Several years ago, Bud Chandler of Chateau Corners Development built the four-lane road in the spot where the DOT plans to eventually reroute Ga. 347/Friendship Road as part of a two-phase $127.3 million widening between McEver Road and Ga. 211/Old Winder Highway.

But that project is several years away from starting and that section of Braselton continues to grow. A new Publix grocery store is now under development off the four-lane road.

To provide some interim traffic relief, Braselton is working with the DOT and two private developers, Chateau Corners Development Corp. and Spout Springs Partners, on some traffic improvements set to wrap up by Oct. 31.

The work ahead includes new turn lanes and traffic lights at the new Friendship Road's connection with Spout Springs and at Spout Springs and Thompson Mill roads.

The DOT "will have inspectors out here ... to make sure (the work) is up to our standards," Pope said.

The portion of what is now Friendship Road running behind Kroger will be reconfigured slightly, as a stretch of new road will connect it to the new Friendship Road on one end.

Stop signs will control traffic in all directions at the new Friendship Road and Spout Springs Road until the project is completed, Pope said.

The Spout Springs-Thompson Mill Road intersection has four-way stop signs in place.