Like Hall, area counties also are wrestling with transportation issues.
Some $60 million in road projects are planned in counties on Hall’s borders, and area residents have an opportunity to get a closer look at the planned work.
Public meetings are set for Sept. 11 in Helen and Sept. 12 in Maysville on projects planned for Banks, Barrow, Dawson, Elbert, Franklin, Habersham, Hart, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison, Oconee, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, Walton and White counties.
Statewide Transportation Improvement Program
What: Public meetings on 2018-21 roads plan
When/where: 5-7 p.m. Sept. 11 at Helen City Hall, 25 Alpenrosen Strasse; and 5-7 p.m. Sept. 12 at the Pat Bell Conference Center, 7020 Ga. 82 Connector, MaysvilleMore info: The draft and current plans can be viewed at http://www.dot.ga.gov/InvestSmart/Pages/STIP.aspx.
The projects, included in the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, feature a variety of efforts, including interstate maintenance, road widenings and bridge replacements.
One of the more notable projects is the completion of the Appalachian Parkway in White County.
In July, government officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the second phase of the Appalachian Parkway, a $25 million segment running between Ga. 115 and U.S. 129 at Hulsey Road
Originally dubbed the Cleveland Bypass, the project was conceived several decades ago.
The first phase of the four-lane road, completed in November 2015, runs between Ga. 115 and U.S. 129, ending just north of Hope Drive. The second phase of the project provides a complete arc around downtown Cleveland.
The third phase would continue the parkway along Hulsey Road ending at Helen Highway/Ga. 75.
“This project is truly regional in nature,” said Travis Turner, chairman of the White County Board of Commissioners.
The statewide plan specifies federally funded transportation projects for rural communities.
It is aimed at “improving the mobility of people and goods across the state, expanding Georgia’s role in global commerce, reducing injury and loss of life on Georgia’s roadways and prioritizing investments in Georgia’s transportation infrastructure assets,” a DOT press release states.
Those attending the public meetings can view maps of projects, discuss projects with DOT staff and formally offer comments.
Counties with more than 50,000 people — such as Hall — are in metropolitan planning organizations. The Gainesville-Hall MPO also includes a portion of west Jackson County, including the Braselton area.
The Gainesville-Hall MPO, which has regular committee meetings discussing a variety of projects, has long-term and short-term plans in place. The long-term plans will be updated in a couple of years.