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No completion date set for McEver-Jim Crow crossing
Cars make their way down McEver Road at the Jim Crow Road interection in Flowery Branch. Work could start early this year on the rebuild of McEver Road at Jim Crow Road. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Hall County officials say they now don’t know when the long-planned makeover of McEver Road at Jim Crow Road in Flowery Branch will take place.

“We are unable to establish a schedule until the utilities are relocated,” Hall County civil engineer Denise Farr said this week.

She said in January that county officials had been “given an estimated date of the first of February” for that work to be completed, allowing the intersection improvements to get underway.

On Tuesday, Farr said, “We are still waiting on utility relocation.”

Meanwhile, Flowery Branch officials are expressing frustration over the delays. The $1.4 million project — eyed for completion before the 2017-18 school year starts — is a joint effort between the South Hall city and Hall County.

At last Thursday’s City Council meeting, Mayor Mike Miller asked City Manager Bill Andrew to ask Hall County to give the city a “full report” by the next council meeting on March 16 citing what utilities are involved in the project and their project schedules.

“This is a public safety issue,” Miller said. “I don’t buy it that it just takes time.”

Andrew spoke Tuesday to the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Policy Committee about the issue. The MPO is the Hall area’s lead transportation planning agency, and the Policy Committee is its decision-making arm.

“We’ve been working, in some sense, you could say 20 or 30 years on trying to get turn lanes on McEver Road,” he said.

“There had been a hope to have (the Jim Crow project done) last fall … and we missed that deadline,” Andrew said. “And now, there’s some belief we’re not going to (complete the work) this fall.”

The $1.4 million project, funded by special purpose local option sales tax money, calls for new right and left turn lanes at all approaches to the heavily used intersection.

Also featured are new pedestrian signals and ramps.

The project, when it gets going, should take about six months to complete, Farr has said.

The intersection is located in a busy area, with several schools, neighborhoods and parks nearby. As it crosses McEver, Jim Crow Road turns into Gainesville Streets, which leads to downtown Flowery Branch.

Hall County has stayed busy paving and rebuilding roads in the area for quite a while.

Workers spent much of last year fixing up a nearby 2-mile stretch of McEver Road that had been marked by long, jagged asphalt cracks.

That work cost about $1 million, with costs shared by Hall County and Oakwood.