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Exit 14, Athens Highway widening among topics for roads forum
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Construction is underway on a $27 million Interstate 985 interchange off Martin Road at Falcon Parkway/Ga.13 in South Hall. - photo by Jeff Gill

Perry Barnett joked about it at a Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce event last week.

“If anybody had to fight traffic to get over here, please fight your way to the transportation forum,” the chamber board of directors chairman said to an audience at the Healthy Hall luncheon at the Brenau Downtown Center.

No laughing matter for motorists is the stop-and-go traffic on many of the area’s main roadways.

But help is on the way or may be soon for many of the arteries, with updates provided on area road projects at the chamber’s annual forum.

The event is set to start at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, March 8, taking place at the University of North Georgia’s Gainesville campus. It will take place in the Continuing Education Building’s auditorium.

Transportation forum

What: Discussion of area road projects

When: 11:30 a.m. Thursday, March 8

Where: University of North Georgia’s Gainesville campus, Continuing Education Building, Oakwood

Admission: $20, Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce member; $25, non-members. Reservations are required.

More info: 770-532-6206

“This event creates discussion with transportation officials, chamber members, business  professionals and community leaders,” the chamber said in a press release.

Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry and District Engineer Brent Cook are scheduled to speak.

Also on the program is Hall County Planning Director Srikanth Yamala, who also directs the Gainesville-Hall County Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Hall area’s lead transportation planning agency.

Several projects are underway throughout the Hall area already.

One of the biggest efforts is DOT’s widening Athens Highway/U.S. 129 from two to four lanes between Talmo in Jackson County and Gillsville Highway/Ga. 323 in East Hall.

The $44.1 million project began in 2016 and has an April 2020 completion date.

Another road widening is taking place in Buford on Ga. 13 between Sawnee Avenue and Lanier Islands Parkway/Ga. 347. The $16.3 million project has a June 2020 completion date.

One of the most noticeable projects is the construction of an interchange, or Exit 14, on Interstate 985 between Flowery Branch and Oakwood.

An overpass is beginning to take shape on I-985 as the $27 million projects moves to a fall 2019 completion. When finished, the interchange will connect Martin Road at Ga. 13 on the east side of I-985 to H.F. Reed Industrial Parkway at Thurmon Tanner Parkway on the west side.

Also, aging bridges over Lake Lanier are either being replaced or in plans to be replaced.

One of the most-awaited road projects in the area is the widening of Spout Springs Road from two to four lanes between Interstate 985 and Gwinnett County — an endeavor so large, it’s being split into two phases.

Right of way acquisition on the first phase between Hog Mountain Road and Union Circle is underway, with construction possibly kicking off sometime next year.

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Construction is underway on a $27 million Interstate 985 interchange off Martin Road at Falcon Parkway/Ga.13 in South Hall. - photo by Jeff Gill
Regional events