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Potential US 129-Ga. 365 connector project discussed at roads meeting
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Gainesville officials have drawn up a conceptual road that would run from Ga. 365 to U.S. 129/Athens Highway, serving as a link between two major thoroughfares.

Traffic Engineer Dee Taylor discussed the proposal while pointing at a detailed map of the East Hall area at Tuesday’s meeting of the Gainesville-Hall County Metropolitan Planning Organization.

“To this point, there’s been no tax money spent on the (proposal),” he noted, adding that the city would like to see the concept considered as part of the planning group’s 2040 transportation plan.

The road, as drawn, essentially would serve as an extension of Howard Road, near the Georgia Mountains YMCA, and travel along Oconee Circle and Miller Drive, near the Rabbittown community.

A copy of the map, distributed to planning organization members, also shows the road crossing Floyd Road before ending up at U.S. 129 near Lenox Drive.

“Basically, this is an exploratory device to see what needs (there are) and what sort of problems that would be solved, and how this particular road would address development,” Taylor said.

The route between Miller Drive and Floyd Road would fall on land that “is largely undeveloped,” he added.

“All of this is subject to change and shift over the next 30 years, obviously,” Taylor said.

Srikanth Yamala, transportation planning manager for the planning organization, said he will need to investigate further the city’s plans, then decide whether the concept should be placed on the 2040 plan.

“Any municipality or jurisdiction or group of citizens can propose anything related to transportation,” he said.

“I’ll be getting in touch with the Gainesville folks to see even if this is a viable concept to consider as we move along.”

The planning group must complete the 2040 plan by August 2011, Yamala said.

Four public hearings will be held, including two this year, before adoption.

The current plan, adopted in August 2007, goes through 2030. Federal requirements state that all metropolitan areas with more than 50,000 residents, such as Gainesville-Hall, develop and maintain a long-range transportation plan.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners has approved a contract with Columbia, S.C.-based Wilbur Smith Associates, which will serve as a consultant on the 2040 plan, Yamala said.

Howard Road Extension
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