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Right-of-way work delays South Hall road project
DOT hopes to award contract in early May
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The planned widening of two stretches of Ga. 347 in South Hall has been delayed a couple of months because of Georgia Department of Transportation efforts to complete right-of-way acquisition.

The DOT had hoped to contract work on Ga. 347/Lanier Islands Parkway between Interstate 985 and McEver Road in February but was held up by right-of-way work, which has been completed.

"Acquisition must be finished and certified two months prior to the letting," said Teri Pope, spokeswoman for the DOT's District 1 office in Gainesville. "This acquisition took two months longer than expected."

The DOT now is looking at awarding the contract in the first week of May.
Land negotiations on the portion of Ga. 347/Friendship Road between I-985 and Ga. 211/Old Winder Highway also are taking longer than expected.

"There are 250 parcels needed and we have closed on 227 to date," Pope said.
Project letting now has been bumped to June from April.

"We will have to be finished (with land acquisition) by the end of April to make the June letting," Pope said. "That is our goal. (We're) not sure that will happen."

Both projects are ambitious, with the Lanier Islands phase running through a heavy commercial district, particularly between Atlanta Highway and I-985.

The Friendship side of the project is more residential, although the new road would pass by one school, Friendship Elementary.

The first phase of the Friendship project is set to take place between Spout Springs Road and Ga. 211, and is expected to coincide somewhat with the timing of the construction of Northeast Georgia Medical Center's South Hall hospital. The new road will run in front of the hospital.

Also, Ga. 211 leads to Chateau Elan, a Braselton resort featuring a winery, hotel and golf course off Interstate 85.

That work essentially serves as a realignment of Ga. 347, which currently runs along the two-lane Thompson Mill Road.

The estimated construction cost for the Friendship portion of the project is $47.9 million, and the Lanier Islands Parkway work is expected to cost $16.3 million, according to the metropolitan planning organization's 2012-2017 Transportation Improvement Program.

The DOT also is looking to eventually widen Ga. 347/Lanier Islands Parkway from McEver to Lake Lanier Islands.

That phase of work is under design, so there is "nothing yet to even discuss," Pope said. The DOT expects "to have an open house in the next year to show the community our proposal."

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