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Orange barrels to return to Hall County roads this year
Road projects scheduled for Calvary Church, McEver roads, Gainesville streets
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Local governments have a slate of road projects they're planning to put into gear in 2011.

Perhaps one of the largest endeavors will be the $3 million in improvements to Calvary Church Road, between Ga. 60/Candler Road and Chicopee Elementary School.

In the works for several years, the project is expected to improve accessibility to many government sites, including the Hall County Detention Center and Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center, as well as the new Gainesville Business Park at New Harvest Road.

"Part of the agreement early on with the development of the business park is Calvary Church would receive some upgrades, and this is the county's end of what needed to be done," County Engineer Jody Woodall said.

The project, which will be paid for by special purpose local option sale tax money, will call for straightening curves, widening lanes and putting in turn lanes at major intersections.

Calvary Church will remain a two-lane road. "Some of the areas ... have 20 feet of pavement and will go to 24 feet," Woodall said.

The schedule calls for the project to go out for bids in February and awarding the contract in March.

"We should have a contractor on the ground the first part of April," Woodall said. "It should be September, looking at completion."

The road is in a largely rural area, with much of the traffic generated by government use.

But "there's a lot of truck traffic out there now and (the improvements will) give the road more of an industrial feel," Woodall said. "And with truck traffic on a narrow road, (traveling) gets a little bit dangerous potentially.

"Having the wider lanes should improve safety."

The county also is looking at continuing an effort to improve intersections along heavily traveled McEver Road, a key corridor in West Hall.

Work is scheduled for McEver at Jim Crow Road in Flowery Branch and Flat Creek Road in Oakwood.

The cities are paying for the decorative poles holding the traffic lights at the intersections and the county is paying for the installation, Woodall said.

"A lot of municipalities like (the poles) in their downtown ... or gateway areas," he added.

The intersection projects, costing about $1 million each, also would involve new turns at all approaches.

"Currently, we don't have turn lanes on any of the approaches, so (traffic) kind of backs up when you've got somebody who wants to turn left and has to sit there," Woodall said.

Construction could take place that summer.

The eventual plan is to convert McEver Road into a four-lane divided highway from Mundy Mill to Friendship roads.

Spout Springs Road is in a similar predicament - a major project having gotten short-term fixes.

Hall County eventually wants to widen the road between Hog Mountain Road in Flowery Branch to the Ga. 347/Thompson Mill Road area of Braselton, near the Gwinnett County line.

Some improvements were made last year, including a traffic light at Elizabeth lane and center turn lanes in front of Spout Springs Elementary and Flowery Branch High schools.

The county hopes to get federal aid for the project, meaning it will have to follow certain strict guidelines, including environmental impact studies, to getting the work done.

Woodall said he hopes the county can select a consultant by April or May to complete the design on the new road.

"From the time we start design to get it to construction, it's probably 7-8 years at best," he said.

David Dockery, Gainesville's public works director, said the city has no major projects in the works but has a host of smaller improvements - mainly resurfacing - on its streets, as part of the state Department of Transportation's Local Maintenance & Improvement Grant Program.

Some of the city streets targeted in the program this year are Brandywine Court, Heritage Court, Heritage Place, Hilton Drive, West Academy Street from Bradford to Green streets, Main Street from Academy to Washington streets, and a section of John Morrow Parkway north of Dawsonville Highway.

Some in-house projects include North Avenue from Ivey Terrace to Northside Drive and a couple of sections of Glenwood and Lenox drives, Dockery said.

The city also is getting ready to fix Broad Street at E.E. Butler Parkway, so that Broad Street motorists can only turn right onto E.E. Butler.

"That's an area where there has been several accidents over the past few years," Dockery said.

"That project should (start) any day now."

The city would like to tackle larger improvements, such as John Morrow at Jesse Jewell parkways.

"Doing something major there would be on a wish list, certainly, as it would be a very expensive undertaking," Dockery said. "And we still haven't found a funding source for that one, but we do realize that's a bottleneck downtown."

 

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