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New Years resolution: Fix Dawsonville Highway
Rain delays Ga. 53 lane openings until 2008; side roads also wait
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Thanks to a couple of rainy days, the Georgia Department of Transportation won’t be able to open all four lanes on Dawsonville Highway until after the first of the year.

The DOT has been trying for the past two days to paint stripes and make adjustments to two traffic signals along the stretch of Ga. 53 north of Gainesville.

There’s only about a day’s worth of work left on the new lanes north of Sidney Drive to Manor Ridge Drive, according to Teri Pope, DOT communications officer. But it has to be a dry day.

"We really just need one dry day," Pope said. "But it will be next year."

Thursday, crews tried to get the stripes painted on the new lanes, even trying to use blow torches to dry the paint, Pope said. But the asphalt was just too saturated after two days of rain for the paint to stick, and will remain so today, she said.

In addition to the striping, the existing traffic signal at Sardis Road and the new signal at Lyncliff Road also need to be set up for four lanes of traffic. Both will be operational when the new lanes open.

"We are so thankful for this rain ... but we have waited and worked so long on this road, it’s so frustrating when we get down to this last little bit," Pope said.

She explained that a couple of factors will keep any work from being done throughout the holidays.

There is a statewide policy of not doing any roadwork on interstates or state routes that may affect drivers during the holidays. That will be in effect from 5 this morning until 5 a.m. Wednesday. The contractor also has scheduled to be off for the holidays until after the new year, Pope said. That pushes the project into early 2008.

Pope said that after the four lanes are open from Sidney Drive to Manor Ridge Drive, there is work remaining on the project that won’t be completed until spring.

The portion of Ga. 53 from Jerry Jackson Bridge to Sidney Drive will remain just two lanes as crews complete the retaining wall in that area. In addition, some work has to be done on drainage and erosion control.

Also, some work remains on side roads leading into Dawsonville Highway, Pope said.

The construction cost of the 3.23 mile long project is $29.5 million.