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Possible North Hall Parkway could be studied next fiscal year
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A North Hall Parkway could connect Thompson Bridge Road, shown here on April 13, 2018, to Ga. 365. A citizens group wants the idea studied sooner rather than later. - photo by David Barnes

A citizens group wants to study a potential North Hall Parkway soon, and that means requesting federal funding for the study sooner.

The Citizens Advisory Committee, a panel within the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization, is asking that the study be done in fiscal 2019 instead of fiscal 2022. The parkway is an idea that has been floated for years but was revived last year by the group.

“We’re trying to have this happen sooner rather than later so that there’s less development that happens between now and when it’s built,” said Renee Gerrell, the citizens group’s chairwoman.

“If we can identify a route early enough and have that information published and publicized, then it will be on the front of people’s minds as they make plans of what to do with their property.”

The matter is set to be discussed on Tuesday, April 17, by the MPO’s Technical Coordinating Committee, a group including local and state transportation officials. The MPO is the Hall County area’s lead transportation planning agency.

North Hall Parkway

What: Funding may be sought for a study of the road project spanning North Hall

When: 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 17

Where: Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville

The issue has been a longstanding one for Hall County — how to move traffic around Gainesville using an east-west corridor in North Hall.

The proposed study area would run from Thompson Bridge Road at Mount Vernon Road to Ga. 365 around White Sulphur Road and as far north as Brookton Lula Road and the Clermont area.

“In light of the ever-increasing congestion through the city, GHMPO would like to apply for … funds to conduct a study on the feasibility of a North Hall Parkway bypass,” the agency’s application states. “This project would allow for better movement, increased safety, decreased pollution and better economic competitiveness throughout the region.”

The study could cost $200,000, with $40,000 from Gainesville and Hall County and $160,000 in Federal Highway Administration dollars that trickle through the Georgia Department of Transportation to MPOs statewide.

The funding request ultimately would have to be approved by the MPO’s Policy Committee, a group of top elected officials making up the agency’s decision-making arm.  A state committee will consider funding requests in September.

Talk of an east-west road has been long considered, including the Northern Connector, which was rolled out as a concept 8 ½ years ago — and quickly shot down.

At the time, planners considered two primary routes for that road, with both having their western side starting on Thompson Bridge Road near Mount Vernon Road. One route featured the road ending on Ga. 365 at White Sulphur Road and the other on Ga. 365 at Whitehall Road.

Area officials are also looking to build the Sardis Road Connector, a four-lane road that would run between Sardis Road at Dawsonville Highway/Ga. 53 and Thompson Bridge Road near Mount Vernon Road.

Regional events