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Plans being laid to complete Thurmon Tanner
Project hit snag and missed Dec. 31 deadline
Edmund Coker walks in front of the barricades on the unfinished section of Thurmon Tanner Parkway at Oakwood Road near property he owns. Coker has been waiting years to see the completion of the project. - photo by Tom Reed

Work on Thurmon Tanner Parkway in Oakwood is stalled at the moment, but more concrete details on its completion may become public this week.

"We are negotiating a supplemental agreement with the contractor (to) ... revise the project completion date and give us a new timeline," said Teri Pope, a Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman.

The $16 million project, calling for a new four-lane road between Plainview and Mundy Mill roads, was originally set for a Dec. 31 completion date, but a snag involving the installation of traffic signals delayed the work.

The contractor, Gary's Grading and Pipeline Co. of Monroe, has poles and equipment ready for a new signal where Thurmon Tanner will cross Oakwood Road, and a revised design has been approved, Pope said.

As for the new road itself, "there is a problem with the asphalt that is down now," Pope said. "Some of the ... asphalt is not at the correct depth."

The asphalt is "about an inch too high or up to 4 inches too low," she added.

"We are working now with the contractor to develop a plan to correct the grade. This is why paving operations have stopped," Pope said.

"Once the corrections are made, then the (driving surface) can go down. After that, then the striping and signage is left (to complete)."

The project serves as the final 1.3-mile link in an overall Thurmon Tanner that will extend from Atlanta Highway near Oakwood to Phil Niekro Boulevard in Flowery Branch.

It's an effort that's been in the works over the past decade, with community leaders hoping the road will trigger commercial and industrial growth and provide a north-south alternative to Interstate 985.

Edmund Coker, who has property off Nellie Drive and Oakwood Road, near Thurmon Tanner, is anxious to see the new road open.

"My property (by itself) wouldn't be worth a whole lot, but in conjunction with other property right there ... it would be a nice business piece of property," he said.

Coker has owned the property since 1962, using it for rentals.

"I'm getting old. I can't tend to my rental stuff," he said. "I need to sell that property. I'd like to see them finish that road, (so that) people can see that it has some value to it."

The road also fits into the city of Oakwood's 2030 plan, which envisions development and retooling of a large area surrounding the downtown.

City Council voted last week to approve the framework for design standards enveloping a 250-acre area around downtown, including Thurmon Tanner.

The 2030 plan projects residential and commercial growth, as well as an amphitheater, multistory City Hall and a commuter rail station that would sit along the railroad tracks running through the heart of the town. It also features connecting trails, parks and green spaces.


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