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South Enota Drive realignment project causing a stir
Residents express concern over possible changes
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Cars line the side of the road waiting to turn into Enota Elementary School to pick up their kids on Thursday. Non-school traffic is forced to use the center turn lane in order to get through traffic. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Plans for a realigned South Enota Drive in Gainesville have some area residents concerned about the new road’s impact on neighborhoods.

“I don’t want it to mess up a middle-class affordable neighborhood,” said Fletcher Law, a Cumberland Valley Road resident.

Also, he’s worried about effects on Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy at 1340 Enota Ave. NE.

“They have a small playground anyway,” Law said.

Worries also surfaced Tuesday as residents broached the issue at a Gainesville City Council meeting.

“What is it going to do to our property values?” asked Margaret Dowdy, a neighbor of Law’s. “Please give us a chance to talk before you do anything.”

City officials quickly responded that they are just taking initial steps toward the $4 million project, an attempt to relieve traffic congestion along Green Street and in the downtown corridor.

The council voted Tuesday to pursue a Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Improvement grant for the project.

“This is a process that’s going to take a long time,” Mayor Danny Dunagan said. “We’re just in preliminary stages ... and I assure you that when we get to that point (of the project firming up) we’ll have public hearings.”

“Please mail something, put in our mailbox something ... so we’re more aware of the plans,” Dowdy said.

“When we get to that point, I assure you that everybody who is affected will be contacted,” Dunagan said.

Law said he appreciated Dunagan being “super-responsive” to resident concerns about the project.

The proposed realignment includes building a new road behind the elementary school, sending traffic from Ga. 60/Thompson Bridge Road to Ga. 11/Park Hill Drive and south to Downey Boulevard, which runs by Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

The new road will connect Enota Avenue with South Enota Drive near Cumberland Drive.

Public Works Director David Dockery has said the plan will improve traffic flow, reduce commercial truck traffic through downtown and also shrink traffic volume near the school.

As part of this project, intersection improvements include adding turn lanes off Thompson Bridge to Enota Avenue in both directions, as well as adding turn lanes at the intersection of South Enota Drive and Park Hill Drive.

Dockery said getting the grant money takes time, and it could be 18 months before the city has money for this work. A 20 percent match from the city is likely, he added.

Gainesville received $522,125 in funding through the same grant program last year to help pay for plans on Ga. 369 to extend the northbound right-turn lane at E.E. Butler Parkway, building a southbound right-turn lane at West End Avenue and building a northbound right-turn lane at Auburn Avenue.

The work is intended to help relieve traffic on Ga. 369, a major artery cutting through the heart of Gainesville.

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