Almost 40 nearby residents and business owners shared their thoughts on the proposed widening of Ga. 13 on Thursday at a public hearing in Buford.
Thursday’s meeting was the second time the Georgia Department of Transportation requested feedback on the project. The first feedback session was in 2009, said Teri Pope, spokeswoman for the DOT’s District 1, which includes Hall and Gwinnett.
“We took the comments from the community and meshed (them) with” the first plan to create the current proposal, Pope said Thursday night during the meeting at Buford City Hall. “It’s really important (to get feedback) because it helps us build a better project.”
The proposal is to widen Ga. 13 from Sawnee Avenue in Buford to just south of Ga. 347/Lanier Islands Parkway in South Hall County to four lanes and add sidewalks on both sides. Some passageways that branch off the proposed 1.65 miles of roadway would also be realigned, such as Holiday and Carter roads. A 20-foot raised grass median would also be included.
Pope said the plan currently is to have a traffic signal at the intersection of Ga. 13 and Sawnee, but that has not been finalized, and a traffic study is under way.
The project is needed because Ga. 13 “currently experiences capacity and operational deficiency issues during peak hours,” according to an informational packet handed out at the meeting.
Right-of-way acquisition for 63 parcels is slated to cost $6.9 million, and construction costs will be $8 million, Pope said.
“We hope to get authorized this fiscal year — fiscal year 2013,” she said. “It’ll probably be right at the end.”
Construction would begin in fiscal year 2015.
One business and one residence would be displaced by the project, but others would be affected by the widening. Some who attended Thursday’s meeting were concerned how their properties would be impacted.
Robert and Sue Ellen Walls have property directly on Ga. 13, and feel the project comes too close to their home.
“That’s in our front yard,” Sue Ellen Walls said, pointing to where a proposed easement would cut into her driveway. “It’s not really looking good for us.”
Robert Walls said he’s lived in the house “a long time,” and he tried to tell officials how much of his property he’d lose at the 2009 meeting.
“It’s going to be at my doorstep,” he said. “I have half an acre now; I’m only going to have about a quarter acre (after the widening).”
Other residents were worried how their property would be affected once access to Bryant Road was removed and a cul-de-sac put in place.
For those who could not attend, the plans are available on the DOT website, www.dot.ga.gov, Pope said. The plan can be found in “Public Outreach” in the Information Center. Visitors must select the project’s county, then choose “Go.” A list of DOT projects in that county will appear.