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Officials to look at wedging intersection project into short-term plan
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A move to fast-track improvements to one of Gainesville’s busiest intersections stalled a bit today as officials wrestled with the issue of putting the project ahead of other needy road fixes.

Transportation plans “need to be financially constrained, so if you’re putting a $2.8 million project in the plan, that means you need to take out another project,” said Srikanth Yamala, director of the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization, Hall County’s lead transportation planning agency.

The lingering issue resurfaced at a meeting of the MPO’s policy committee, a decision-making group comprising top elected officials in the area.

Gainesville Mayor Danny Dunagan wants the Georgia Department of Transportation to start buying right of way at Jesse Jewell and Queen City parkways, with an eye particularly to property containing a house on one corner. The nearly three-quarters of an acre is part of a two-lot package for sale.

DOT officials have said they can pursue buying right of way, but there needs to be active project at the intersection.
The MPO’s long-range plan shows intersection improvements estimated at nearly $2.8 million and targeted for construction between 2018 and 2030.

A discussion ensued at today’s meeting as Dunagan talked about moving the project to a short-range plan.

“We can come back with a couple of scenarios to see how we could make this happen,” Yamala said. “I’m sure we could come up with a few options and let the board vote on it in August.”

The group is set to meet next on Aug. 12.

“In the meantime, we’ll try to set up a meeting with DOT and see where we can go from there,” Dunagan said.

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