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Oakwood students may face lengthy commute
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Oakwood Road is scheduled to be closed for 90 days for work on the intersection with the Thurmon Tanner Parkway extension. - photo by Tom Reed

What used to be a stone’s throw or two from Oakwood Elementary School now will mean a ride down busy Mundy Mill Road for students living off Oakwood Road — at least for a few months.

Oakwood Road, a main connector between Mundy Mill Road and Main Street in Oakwood, was closed Tuesday for up to 90 days as part of work on the final leg of the four-lane Thurmon Tanner Parkway.

Oakwood Elementary sits at the end of Main and Academy streets, or just one block off Oakwood Road.

Georgia Department of Transportation plans call for rebuilding Oakwood Road at Thurmon Tanner Parkway.

Oakwood Road features a few neighborhoods and jutting off it is Mundy Mill Drive, which features a large apartment complex.

“There aren’t a lot of options,” said Jewel Armour, transportation director for the Hall County school system. “We’re just going to have to go in there, pick them up and drive around.”

As far as picking up and dropping off students on Oakwood Road, “I’m told we’ll be able to go as far down as Nellie Drive and there’s no students past that. ... The construction is just past there.”

The school system is pondering taking either Mundy Mill Road to Atlanta Highway to Plainview Road to Academy Street or Mundy Mill Road to Old Oakwood Road to Main Street.

Armour is leaning toward the Plainview Road option “to avoid the railroad track (on Main Street). I’d rather not do that.”

For motorists, the detour route for Oakwood Road traffic east of Thurmon Tanner is Ga. 53/Mundy Mill Road to Mundy Mill Drive to Oakwood Road. For west traffic, the detour route is Mundy Mill Road to Old Oakwood Road and then Main Street to Oakwood Road.

The last segment of Thurmon Tanner is a 1.3-mile stretch between Mundy Mill and Plainview roads.

When the $6.7 million project is finished, the entire parkway will run from Atlanta Highway in Oakwood to Phil Niekro Boulevard in Flowery Branch. The project is set for a Dec. 31 completion and is about 35 percent complete.

Armour said the system also has learned that Mangum Mill Road near Sugar Hill Elementary School off Athens Highway in East Hall will be closed soon for construction work.

Mangum Mill runs between Blackstock and Harmony Church roads.

“At this point ... it looks like we won’t be able to travel that road at all, so we’ll have to pick up (students) on either end,” Armour said.

“I would guess, though, the majority of people — if they have to take (students) that far, they would just take them on to school,” he added. “... Another option, if they have middle and high school kids, would be to drop them off at Sugar Hill and we’d take them (to school).”

Jody Woodall, Hall County road projects manager, said the Mangum Mill work involves replacing a culvert that has deteriorated and is expected to cost the county about $170,000.

“The closure will occur in the next three to four weeks,” he said. “I would anticipate (completion in) 45 to 60 days.”

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